back to article Take it Huawei, Pai: Senate passes bill to rip 'dodgy' kit from rural telcos

President Trump is expected to sign a bill that would allocate $1bn to US carriers to replace existing Huawei-built infrastructure after it was unanimously passed by the Senate yesterday. H.R. 4998, which revels in the snappy name "Secure and Trusted Communications Network Act of 2019", was passed by the House of …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Managed by the FCC

    Congratulations, Pai, you've managed to find another way to help your friends in the telecoms industry. Why should the government subsidize replacing equipment ? Because everyone agrees with government intervention when the government pays for it. But when the government wants medicare for all and reaches into the pockets of the rich and influential, then its "governmental meddling" and anti-American and all that bullshit.

    Oh well, I'm sure that you'll manage that money very efficiently to help your poor, poor telecom friends.

    1. Simian Surprise

      Re: Managed by the FCC

      > the government pays for it.

      With whose money, again?

      1. the spectacularly refined chap

        Re: Managed by the FCC

        Your grandchildren. Spend as much as we want now. Let future generations pick up the tab. How do you think those wars in Afghanistan and Iraq got paid for?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Managed by the FCC

        >With whose money, again?

        Mexico?

      3. The Nazz Silver badge

        Re: Managed by the FCC

        "With whose money, again?"

        China's. Don't the US owe them something like $87,000tn?

        Currently the US are protected by Oil being traded in $US. What's gonna happen when Oil is no longer traded, at all, never mind in $. Not that i'll be here too worry too much.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Managed by the FCC

          That problem has been looming large for years for those that have been paying attention.

          The fun part is that they're too big to bully off the stage and already had a test run on ruining their day.. The corona virus may have slowed things down a bit, but otherwise they're pretty much ready to act.

    2. skeptical i

      Re: Managed by the FCC

      I heard an interview in Iowa just before the Iowa Circ-, er, Caucus took place, and one of the participants, a small farmer, said something to the effect of he did not like Trump but did not want socialism. As I understand it, there are a lot of government programs available to help farmers* so I was a bit confused about how this gent defined "socialism" and why he wanted no part of it. Perhaps it, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder?

      * Not that I have a problem with this, mind; the folks who feed us are higher up the list of those deserving of government largesse (along with doctors who serve rural and other underserved communities abd teachers). Certainly higher up than telcos and their self-serving boards and officers.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Managed by the FCC

        Socialism is when the government gives someone else's money to some people but not to you.

        Just like small government is fine because it doesn't ask you anything, but big government is fine when you have to ask it and obtain subsidies....

  2. HmYiss

    yes yes yes..

    Rip out that nasty sino spy tech and replace it with some good wholesome israeli spy tech.. its served your nation so well so far.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: yes yes yes..

      And we are supposed to believe that No Such Agency has never persuaded American companies to put back-doors in their routers or told telecommunications providers that they need to send a copy of everything to Fort Meade?

      1. HmYiss

        Re: yes yes yes..

        there are american companies? well shit - this is newsworthy in its own right.

        1. Trollslayer Silver badge

          Re: yes yes yes..

          There is Cisco.

          Oh, at work a customer has problems with a Cisco switch and our products work with every other model of switch.

          1. LDS Silver badge

            Re: yes yes yes..

            They are made in China, so probably you get the best Trojans of both spy agencies....

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: yes yes yes..

              Ah, that may explain the frequent memory and performance problems.

              :)

        2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: yes yes yes..

          there are american companies? well shit - this is newsworthy in its own right.

          Sure! There is of course Intel.. But they dabbled in mobile and then gave up. Then there's the $20bn behemoth, Qualcomm. But they're a fabless patent licensing machine, who gained notoriety for their works in 3G & 4G technologies.. Mainly pay up for CDMA patents or face endless litigation.

          So that prompted industry to seek alternatives, which are included in 5G, which means Qualcomm faces declining revenues. But such are the joys of business. Or international standardisation efforts, which generally involve interested parties lobbying for inclusion of techs they hold patents for, or horsetrading via patent pooling to keep out new entrants.

          Then there's the problem for badge engineering companies who make tin, or rely on third parties to make the tin for them. Oddly, this has meant China, which meant a lot of technology transfer and helping Chinese industries develop the knowledge to compete against their former partners. Which has also lead to some current challenges, like Covid and the current supply chain disruption. But that was one of the government concerns wrt Huawei, ie what may happen if supply of their tin stops for political reasons.

          So we live in interesting times. Bankruptcies, consolidation, competition and cost savings have shrunk the supply of 'critical' infrastructure devices. Subsidising is one possibility, but only really works if there are practical 'friendly' suppliers to choose from.. And those aren't without their own risks, ie Nortel/Ericsson are EU, so potentially caught up in EU-US trade spats. Other tech might be Israeli, so has it's own political considerations. There are longer term options, like R&D tax breaks and subsidising manufacturing, but they also get caught up in political interference, like EU state aid rules.

          Meanwhile, Huawei can sell to RoW who can then compete more effectively due to better infrastructure, or lower costs.

  3. JohnFen Silver badge
    FAIL

    Fiscal responsibility?

    This is not at all a total waste of a billion dollars.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fiscal responsibility?

      Quite surprised it's only one billion dollars - a mere rounding error in government expenditure.

      How many miles of high-speed railway can you get for that? Not many.

      1. EnviableOne Silver badge

        Re: Fiscal responsibility?

        depends wether its the chinese building it or the UK....

    2. veti Silver badge

      Re: Fiscal responsibility?

      It's called fiscal stimulus. As Keynesian economists have been saying for the best part of 100 years: if you want the economy to do well, try giving out money. Trump has been doing it since he got into office (and the Republican congress and senate suddenly decided the deficit didn't matter any more).

  4. Grogan

    That's OK, he'll take that money out of the mouths of the poor, and further defund public institutions and programs.

    It will take a long time to undo the damage that Trump and the rest of those malicious, greedy twats that enable him have done.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Americans are dumb

    ..and Trump will still be re-elected !

    1. GrapeBunch Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Americans are dumb

      "Americans are dumb

      ..and Trump will still be re-elected !"

      has so far attracted zero upvotes and two down. I wonder if the down votes are because the headline is insulting to the hearing-impaired, or because Americans are smart and Trump will be re-elected or because .... is there a third option?

      After being away for a couple of weeks, I've noticed that the number of comments on El Reg posts is much lower than it used to be. Did I miss something? When I did upvote a post about Putin and Trump, I was asked to log-in again and told:

      Thanks. Your vote will be recorded, and totals updated, shortly.

      which gave me a tiny frisson. I mean, to whom could my vote be recorded? Didn't Mr. Putin already fix that voting problem?

      1. Maty

        Re: Americans are dumb

        'I've noticed that the number of comments on El Reg posts is much lower than it used to be'

        Well, all is not totally well. I logged in, and on the box which said 'Hi Maty' I clicked on the link 'view previous posts' (just above the 'log out' button). The link went to a page saying 'you must be logged in to do this.'

        Gee, if only there was a tech site that could help me with this issue ...

    2. Suricou Raven Silver badge

      Re: Americans are dumb

      Probably. Incumbents are re-elected more often than they are not, and the college is strongly in his favor. It is quite likely his second election will be a repeat of the first: He'll win the college, but lose the popular vote, leading to much wailing and gnashing of teeth by people who feel the college system is inherently unfair - and a renewed determination among Republican supporters to defend it at all costs.

      1. EnviableOne Silver badge

        Re: Americans are dumb

        the college system is not inherently unfair, its the way that states choose to allocate those electors that is unfair, so a 50%+1 vote share in a few states throws the addition out.

        if all states worked on a more representative system like nebraska and maine, the outcome would better reflect the popular vote

        1. Maty

          Re: Americans are dumb

          'if all states worked on a more representative system like nebraska and maine, the outcome would better reflect the popular vote'.

          This is not necessarily a good thing. There's a reason the founding fathers made the USA a Republic and not a pure democracy. In a country as large and diverse as the USA, having policy made by and for the majority living on the east and west coasts would lead to alienation of the huge mass of 'flyover states' in the middle.

          Thus the college and the Senate were specifically created to protect the interests of smaller rural populations, not so that they 'reflect the popular vote'. After all, pure democracy has been famously defined as 'two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.'

  6. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Finger up the arse assassination

    Or mass murder. A friend, a microbiologist, told me the easiest method to kill a lot of people was to take a job at a restaurant and spread E Coli. Stick a finger up your butt and rub it on the food. It is that easy to kill Trump.

    I am incredibly polite to food servers now. I tip heavily.

    ,

    1. GrapeBunch Silver badge

      Re: Finger up the arse assassination

      At my fave resto, they do that for entertainment.

      1. Kane Silver badge

        Re: Finger up the arse assassination

        You have to pay for that service at my local.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Finger up the arse assassination

      Not sure if a microbiologist knows what kills macroorganisms like people. It *might* give a few patrons diarrhea, but that's about it.

      Spreading your e.coli around would certainly close the joint come next health inspection, though. Oh and did you know that the bacterial DNA could be traced back to you? Everyone's e.coli is different.

    3. Suricou Raven Silver badge

      Re: Finger up the arse assassination

      The President is very well protected these days. That protection includes a supply of specially-prepared food made only from properly vetted ingredients with a documented chain of custody. They don't go around in open-topped limos any more either.

      It's really an annoyance to any place the President visits. Their travel route is secured in advance by a large team of secret service agents that search and lock down every building which might provide a suitable place for a sniper. Roads are closed down. Businesses are shut. Schools are closed. Even storm drains and sewers are inspected for explosives. It's hugely disruptive and costly, but given how many people would happily give up their own lives to kill the president (Especially the current one), it's the only way to ensure that doesn't happen.

      In the event that fails, the motorcade even includes an ambulance, ready to rush in and try to save the president's life following an almost-successful assassination attempt.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Finger up the arse assassination

        Meanwhile, the Queen and Prince William turned up at Grenfell in a mini he drove.

        And Prime Minister Cummings just lives in a terraced house which is clearly identifiable on TV news broadcasts, when he pops out in the morning.

        1. LDS Silver badge

          "Meanwhile, the Queen and Prince William turned up at Grenfell in a mini he drove."

          A carefully choreographed show to deter any resentment against the elites... and despite the promises, not much was done after it, wasn't it?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Finger up the arse assassination

        Obama visited Darwin a few years back and caused massive disruption. Roads were closed, the city centre was effectively locked down and you couldn't park anywhere near the flight path into the airport. While driving into work teh day before the visit I spotted a heavily built man in plain (but hugely inappropriate for a tropical city like Darwin) clothing checking out buildings on the street near my office (we are near the airport). Was almost tempted to stop and ask him about his career in the secret service.

        The authorities also made an effort clear out all the indigenous homeless who hang around the city. Can't have the prez seeing them. They never bother any other time.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Removing "dodgy" kit

    Yeah...sure...

    How can we give telcos subsidies without making it look like we're communists? It's security!!!!

    Remember kids, communisms bad m'kay? Just work really hard, pay your taxes and let your government pay the rich companies more money to do things the rich companies supposedly do well...

  8. Chris G Silver badge

    Let's face it

    If Americans are going to be spied on, it should be done by Americans with American made kit paid for by Americans and for the benefit of errmm.... other Americans.

    1. Saruman the White

      Re: Let's face it

      First problem with that statement: there is no American made kit. At alternatives are Nokia or Ericsson, both Nordic.

      1. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: Let's face it

        Satire?

      2. Spanners Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Let's face it

        Nokia or Ericsson, both Nordic

        Both from countries that practice looking after their citizens - known to the unintelligent as "socialism". That is even though all Scandinavian countries except Finland are monarchies.

        1. LDS Silver badge

          Re: Let's face it

          It's not socialism - it's social democracy - a big difference that people in US still utterly fail to understand.

          That's why the can easily coexist with monarchies.

        2. Azium

          Re: Let's face it

          Finland is not in Scandinavia.

          Scandinavia is Sweden, Norway & Denmark. Nordic is Scandinavia plus Finland, Iceland, Greenland & the Faroes.

  9. Paul Herber Silver badge

    War

    Cisco kid was a friend of mine ...

  10. David 45

    Paranoia - again!

    What a bloody waste of money, just to fund Trump's paranoia.

    1. Spanners Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: Paranoia - again!

      This is not and never has been paranoia. That would mean that the instigators genuinely believe it had anything to do with security.

      It has less to do with security and more to do with helping some very rich people make even more money at the expense of taxpayers.

  11. Sanctimonious Prick
    Thumb Down

    Bastards!

    This sucks!

    I'm a big fan of WhooHoo!

    And I'm ashamed my nation is part of the 5is - cos this is going to have a flow-on (a?)effect, damnit!

  12. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Broken political system

    "I heard an interview in Iowa just before the Iowa Circ-, er, Caucus took place, and one of the participants, a small farmer, said something to the effect of he did not like Trump but did not want socialism. As I understand it, there are a lot of government programs available to help farmers* so I was a bit confused about how this gent defined "socialism" and why he wanted no part of it. Perhaps it, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder?"

    US's broken 2-party system, imagine if you will if you have a center-left and center-right party; no other parties, with rhetoric for like a century INSISTING these are two near-center positions are utterly opposite and irreconcilable; of course, with only 2 parties pretending they represent all possible political views, the people who should be in some kind of neo-nazi party, or extreme-greens or whatever else will be shoved into these 2 main parties, but I've found in US most are actively ignorant of how proper politics work because of how long these 2 main parties have distorted the political landscape.

    With this broken backdrop, I'm quite sure the politically uninformed farmer is convinced that HIS handouts are well-earned money and in no way socialist, oh no, it's only socialist when policies of the OTHER main party dare to provide handouts. Of course, both these main parties will also insist that each increase in federal spending THEY bring about is actually a decrease, the increases are the other main party's fault.

    -----

    T-Mo may manage to get some of this cash; they bought IWireless locally, and if they haven't already ditched IWireless' ZTE and Huawei gear, I suppose they will now. (IWireless' network was rather obsolete so they may have already replaced everything.)

    1. Suricou Raven Silver badge

      Re: Broken political system

      America used to have a center-left and a center-right party. Now it has a center-right and a far-right party. Most of the political positions which are very popular in the rest of the developed world are poison in American politics. The things American politics decries as 'Socialism!' are mainstream elsewhere.

      1. Spanners Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: Broken political system

        America used to have a centre-left and a centre-right party.

        Nowadays, they show no signs of anything left of the middle. Obama was centre-right and the Republicans seem to be somewhat to the right of that.

        The nearest they have to a socialist candidate has the full weight of their press, "aristocracy" and wealthy lined up against him.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Broken political system

        Center-right?

        The dems play the leftist card to the populace, but when it comes down to it, they are nowhere near it. Apart from the few progressives, they often vote WITH the republicans on right-leaning issue, and are against medicare-for-all.. They are beholden to the same corporationists that the reps are.

        Hell, even Boris in the UK bangs on about helping the NHS.

    2. Garymrrsn

      Re: Broken political system

      Attention Buddhists!

      There ain't no Middle Way in the USA

  13. Winkypop Silver badge
    Coat

    NEXT: The war on Christmas

    No more Huawei in a manger....

  14. hoola Bronze badge

    Lobbying

    This is the real reason, Cisco are losing out because they have not been able to keep up. They sat they confident that people would not buy anything else regardless of cost. The results is that alternative players are nibbling away at Cisco's dominance. They have enough of a cash pile to continue to lobby against Huawei which with Trump's anti-China stance is fitting nicely.

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2020/02/28/cisco_new_round_of_layoffs/

  15. pensionerbob

    Just love your humour, If it is humour?

    Gee I just love your humour could do with some of it over here, (UK) where we are desperately trying to copy Trumpism, so we all in the west will end up in

    SH-T CREEK!

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