US FCC Classifies Huawei and ZTE as Security Threats, Cuts off Funding

FCC declares Huawei ZTE ‘national security threats’		
			
		Zack Whittaker					Devin Coldewey		
	7 hours

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Tuesday formally designated Chinese firms Huawei Technologies Co and ZTE Corp as posing threats to United States national security, a declaration that bars USA firms from tapping an $8.3bn government fund to purchase equipment from the companies.

The FCC has increasingly scrutinized Chinese companies as tensions grow between Beijing and Washington over trade, the coronavirus and security issues.

According to FCC's orders, Huawei and ZTE are considered highly susceptible to influence and coercion by the Chinese government, military, and intelligence community.

The U.S. contends that Huawei's equipment could be used by China for spying.

In April, the FCC said it may shut down U.S. operations of three state-controlled Chinese telecommunications companies. The fund is a collection of subsidies through which the U.S. government can promote access to telecom services. The Federal Communications Commission is the U.S. agency that regulates all communications technology.

"With today's Orders, and based on the overwhelming weight of evidence, the Bureau has designated Huawei and ZTE as national security risks to America's communications networks-and to our 5G future", FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in the release. Federal agencies and lawmakers have long claimed that because the tech giants are subject to Chinese law, they could be obligated to "cooperate with the country's intelligence services", Pai said.

In the past few years, the FCC has made overtures against Huawei and ZTE, characterizing them as national security threats. "We are sending a clear message: the USA government, and this @FCC in particular, can not and will not allow the Chinese Communist Party to exploit vulnerabilities in USA communications networks".

USA companies are forbidden from tapping into the FCC's $8.3 billion Universal Service Fund to purchase Huawei and ZTE goods and services under the ban, which was issued on Tuesday.

Also during 2019, in May, the FCC blocked China Mobile, another Chinese telecom giant, from offering global telecom services using USA networks.

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

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