U.S. House passes 4 bills related to telecom security, open RAN

This week, the House of Representatives passed four bi-partisan communications and technology bills, which will now move to the Senate for consideration.

H.R. 3919, the “Secure Equipment Act of 2021,” would prohibit the FCC from reviewing or approving any authorization for wireless equipment from a provider that is on the list of those that pose an unacceptable risk to national security. The bill passed on the House Floor by a vote of 420-4.

Companies on the “Entity List” already include Huawei and ZTE.

H.R. 4032, the “Open RAN Outreach Act,” would require the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information to conduct outreach and provide technical assistance to small communication network providers to raise awareness about open radio access network (RAN) technology. The legislation also requires the Assistant Secretary to raise awareness about, and participation in, the Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Grant Program. The bill passed on the House Floor by a vote of 410-17.

RELATED: AT&T’s open RAN deployment is already under way

H.R. 4028, the “Information and Communication Technology Strategy Act,” would require the Secretary of Commerce to report on and develop a whole-of-government strategy with respect to the economic competitiveness of the information and communication technology supply chain, and for other purposes. The bill passed on the House Floor by a vote of 413-14.

H.R. 4067, the “Communications Security Advisory Act of 2021,” would direct the FCC to make permanent a recently re-charted council to make recommendations on ways to increase the security, reliability, and interoperability of communications networks. The bill passed on the House Floor by a vote of 397-29.  

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA) released the following joint statement: “Together, these bills will boost network reliability, protect against suspect equipment that poses a risk to our national security, support small communications network providers, and bolster the economic competitiveness of our technology supply chains. We commend the bipartisan work that went into these bills that advanced out of our Committee in July and hope that the Senate will take action soon.”