WASHINGTON, DC—Once again, Womble Bond Dickinson attorney Carri Bennet is speaking up in the national media on behalf of small, rural telecom carriers whose services depend on Chinese-made equipment. This equipment – and the services provided by rural telecom carriers – are at the heart of a proposed federal executive order that would ban Chinese telecommunication gear from the US market.

Bennet discussed the issue with the Wall Street Journal in the newspaper’s Feb. 11 edition. President Donald Trump is weighing banning some Chinese telecom equipment, including products made by Huawei Technologies Co., due to alleged security concerns. But rural carriers widely depend on Huawei’s products.

Bennet, who serves as General Counsel of the Rural Wireless Association, tells the Wall Street Journal that such a ban would not benefit national security and would hurt small, rural carriers and their customers. Bennet previously discussed this issue with the New York Times and, on behalf of the RWA, she and Womble Bond Dickinson attorney Erin Fitzgerald filed a 2018 ex parte letter with the FCC outlining RWA’s suggestions on securing the communications supply chain.

“We’ve obviously been in touch with the administration to make sure they understand whatever they do in that [order] doesn’t have the unintended consequence of hurting rural America,” Bennet tells the Wall Street Journal. “What nobody in the administration or government or Congress seems to have looked at is how pervasive is all this gear in our networks.”

For example, the newspaper interviewed a small South Dakota telecom operator, who said the proposed ban would cost his company around $10 million and require extensive work on behalf of his staff.

Click here to read “Rural U.S. Carriers Resist Proposed Chinese Telecom Ban Aimed at Huawei” in the Wall Street Journal (subscription required).

Carri Bennet has more than three decades of experience representing wireline, wireless and broadband communications providers, as well as commercial and noncommercial broadcasters, in regulatory compliance matters. She has a particular focus on advocating for small rural carriers, including serving as General Counsel to the Rural Wireless Association. Bennet represents telecom industry clients before the FCC, state regulatory agencies, the courts, and Congress.