Christopher Mitchell, Director of the Community Broadband Networks initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, recently appeared on Marketplace Tech to discuss security concerns around Chinese equipment used in many rural broadband networks.
Christopher explained why this equipment has become so ubiquitous, details some of the potential security issues, and talks about how proposals to remove and replace the equipment might affect networks. In response to a question about how this will impact consumers, Christopher said:
In rural areas, where we’re seeing this gear being used, effectively, the Chinese had been subsidizing rural deployment in the United States because they were charging such low rates for the gear, it allowed the rural wireless providers to get out there and to go further than they otherwise would be able to. If we don’t do anything to pick up that slack, then we will see broadband expanded more slowly across rural areas. This would also be an opportunity to revisit our programs to make sure that we’re investing sufficiently in rural broadband from the American government and not just taking advantage of Chinese trade policy.