The FCC issues final orders declaring Huawei and ZTE security threats to the US

Federal Communications Commission

The Federal Communications Commission has now formally designated Chinese’s Huawei Technologies and ZTE as posing threats to US national security, a declaration that bars US businesses from tapping an $8.3 billion government fund to purchase equipment from the companies.

KEY POINTS:

  • The FCC formally designates Huawei and ZTE as threats to US national security
  • The declaration stops US businesses accessing an $8.3 billion government fund to purchase equipment from the two companies
  • The FCC is taking an increasingly hard line against Chinese firms

The US telecommunications regulator voted in November 5-0 to issue the declaration and proposed requiring rural carriers to remove and replace equipment from the two Chinese companies from existing US networks. “We cannot and will not allow the Chinese Communist Party to exploit network vulnerabilities and compromise our critical communications infrastructure,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement on Tuesday.

Huawei and ZTE Corp did not immediately respond to requests for comment but have previously sharply criticised the FCC’s actions.

FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks said on Tuesday that “untrustworthy equipment” remains in place in US networks and said the US Congress must allocate funding for replacements.

In May 2019, Trump signed an executive order declaring a national emergency and barring US companies from using telecommunications equipment made by companies posing a national security risk. The Trump administration also added Huawei to its trade blacklist last year.

The FCC has taken an increasingly hard line against Chinese firms.

In April, the FCC said it may shut down US operations of three state-controlled Chinese telecommunications companies

The FCC required China Telecom Americas, China Unicom Americas, Pacific Networks Corp and its wholly owned subsidiary ComNet (USA) LLC to explain why it should not start the process of revoking authorisations enabling their US operations.

The FCC granted its approvals to the firms more than a decade ago.

In May 2019, the FCC voted to deny another state-owned Chinese telecommunications company, China Mobile Ltd, the right to provide US services, citing risks that the Chinese government could use the company to conduct espionage against the US government.

Via our content partners at Reuters. Reporting by David Shepardson. Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Sandra Maler.

Share This Post