acm-header
Sign In

Communications of the ACM

ACM News

'Rip and Replace': The Tech Cold War Is Upending Wireless Carriers


View as: Print Mobile App Share:
A cell tower in Alabama.

A Pine Belt Cellular cell tower in Arlington, AL. The company is removing Chinese telecom equipment under a federal program known as “rip and replace.”

Credit: Charity Rachelle/The New York Times

Deep in a pine forest in Wilcox County, Ala., three workers dangled from the top of a 350-foot cellular tower. They were there to rip out and replace Chinese equipment from the local wireless network.

Three hours into the job, the team ran into a hitch. Replacement gear from a European company was obstructing a safety beacon for airplanes. "We've got a problem," a crew member on the ground said. "They say it's blocking the beacon."

The project had already been delayed for months because of storms, slow equipment shipments and labor shortages. The new snafu, discovered early this month, would add at least two more days and blow the budget, said John Nettles, the president of the family-owned Pine Belt Cellular, who was standing at the base of the tower.

"People in Washington think it's easy to just swap out the equipment, but there are always problems you didn't expect, always more expenses and always delays," he said.

From The New York Times
View Full Article

 


 

No entries found