On January 13, 2021, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published a final rule that requires advanced communications providers to review their equipment and services within their networks and either: (1) certify that they do not include any covered equipment; or (2) file an annual report with the FCC that identifies covered communications equipment or services (as described below), details information about the equipment/service and their removal or replacement plan, and justifies the use of the equipment/service, among other things. Government contractors that have to make a representation under Section 889(a)(1)(B) of the FY2019 NDAA are challenged if they operate in rural locations where there may not be providers that do not use covered equipment or services. This rule may ultimately alleviate that issue for contractors by requiring and providing funding for removal and replacement of covered equipment and services. The new rule, which implements the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019, is effective March 15, 2021, with limited exceptions for the required reporting and parts of the rule’s removal, replacement, disposal, and reimbursement requirements.
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