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Daines Introduces Amendment To Prevent Cell Service Loss In Rural Montana Communities

U.S. Senator Steve Daines introduced an amendment to the foreign aid emergency funding bill that would fully fund the “Rip and Replace” program that would remove Chinese components from the United States’ wireless communications systems on Tuesday, April 23.

Without full funding, wireless and broadband providers across the United States will be saddled with billions of dollars in costs that could result in service blackouts and companies closing down, including many in eastern Montana.

“Wireless security is national security, said Daines. “To that end, removing Chinese telecom equipment from our wireless networks is a matter of national security. Rural providers must have the resources and ability to remove compromised equipment. Without it, our wireless systems are at severe risk. This service is also critical for many Montanans in eastern Montana who could lose 911 and cell service. We must get this done before it’s too late.”

The Rip and Replace program was created in 2020 to remove Chinese components from our wireless communications systems. The Rip and Replace fund needs an additional $3 billion in order to finish its mission. The continued use of Chinese telecommunications equipment is a major national security concern especially in areas that serve military bases. The “Supporting National Security with Spectrum Act” fully funds the Rip and Replace program by requiring the Federal Communications Commission to re-auction certain spectrum licenses that were recently returned to the Commission.

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