Dear Chair DeLauro and Ranking Member Granger,
As supporters of the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act (STCNA), we write today to urge you to fulfill Congress's goal of removing and replacing all untrusted equipment from America's communications networks. For the United States to continue to lead the world in telecommunications security, it is imperative that we provide the resources needed to fully secure our communications networks as required by STCNA.
To help internet service providers remove and replace untrusted network equipment, STCNA created, and Congress appropriated $1.9 billion for, the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Reimbursement Program (SCRP). The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) received more than 180 funding applications for the SCRP totaling nearly $5.6 billion, well over the amount appropriated by Congress.
This significant funding shortfall has introduced severe uncertainty for these small providers and undercuts internet service providers' ability to execute their plans to rip and replace network equipment. This poses a very significant national security threat and without additional resources, the program cannot fulfill its mandate.
It has never been more important for American telecommunications networks to be employing secure equipment manufactured by trusted vendors in democratic nations. Pending the final review by the FCC of these requests, additional funding will be needed for the FCC to execute Congress's goal of removing all untrusted network equipment in American telecommunications networks. We expect their work to be completed by June 15, 2022, at which point they will be able to identify what the unmet funding needs are for the program. We look forward to working with you and the FCC to address the SCRP shortfall quickly so we can ensure the security of our networks while preserving connectivity.