Much of rural America with very low population density, depends on small wireless carriers for their internet access as AT&T, T-Mobile and other large providers have no interest in providing services. Many of these small carries can’t afford equipment from suppliers such as Ericsson and Nokia Corporation and have to rely on cheaper suppliers from Huawei Technologies Co. and other Chinese companies. The upcoming ban on U.S. telecommunications networks acquiring or using equipment from Chinese suppliers under a cloud of uncertainty, with some fearing bankruptcy. Rural broadband carriers could be forced to rip out and replace entire networks because they wouldn’t be able to import spare parts or software updates to maintain infrastructure, Roger Entner, a telecom analyst at Recon Analytics told LA Times. More from LA Times:
— Replacing the network would cost $5 million to $10 million according to the President of Pine Belt Communications, a small telecommunications company in Alabama. “And downtime from installing new equipment would probably cause Pine Belt to forgo $1 million to $3 million in roaming fees, according to Federal Communications Commission filings.”
— By one estimation: Carri Bennet, general counsel for the Rural Wireless Association, a trade group for carriers with fewer than 100,000 subscribers estimates 25% of the association’s members used Huawei or ZTE gear in their networks.