The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) instructed U.S. telephone companies to report their use of Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp. equipment. The products of these companies, according to the Trump administration, pose a security risk and serve as an espionage tool in favor of the Chinese authorities.
This is the next step in the FCC’s response to warnings about Chinese companies that produce key components for mobile networks. The data provided by telecom operators can help inform further potential actions to take by officials as well as to help develop a reimbursement program for service providers who may need to dismantle and replace equipment, according to a FCC press release.
devicesHuawei equipment is cheaper than competitors, and is popular with small, rural American telecom providers, who often rely on government subsidies.
In November, the US Federal Communications Commission made a decision to ban organizations using funds from the Universal Service Fund from buying equipment and using Huawei and ZTE components. These organizations often include regional and rural broadband providers.
After Huawei filed the so-called “Reconsideration Request” with the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Louisiana. In a legal document, Huawei claims that the FCC’s decision “exceeds the statutory authority of the department and violates federal law, the constitution and other laws.”
In December, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill banning the government from buying telecommunications equipment from companies that are seen as a threat to national security. The bill prohibits the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from allocating funds for the purchase of telecommunications equipment from “any company that poses a threat to national security.” At the same time, it provides for assistance from the government to small providers of communication services, which will have to abandon dubious equipment.
Division of the Internet
Under the bill, the US Federal Communications Commission will have to create a $1 billion program to help small and rural telecom providers remove suspicious equipment and replace it with products that are considered more secure.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is convinced that China’s dominance in 5G not only threatens US security, but can also lead to a dangerous division of the Internet into American and Chinese. FCC has allocated resources for the development of 5G technology in the United States. According to the FCC chairman, this strategy means more work with software in which the US is already dominant, rather than with technologies in which China is quickly becoming a leader.
The FCC is considering finalizing that Huawei and ZTE pose a threat to national security. The agency also proposed requiring providers to dismantle existing equipment that could pose a threat to national security. Subsidy operators must report to the FCC by April 22, the document said.
However, the United Kingdom and the European Union do not agree with the United States and decided that there is no danger for Huawei to be allowed to participate in the construction of 5G networks.
Huawei and ZTE deny that they are dangerous. Huawei claims that authorities want to take the company out of business in the United States and tarnish its reputation here and around the world.