- The US FCC classifies Huawei and ZTE as a security threat and bans them as vendors for projects under its Universal Service Fund due to suspected ties with the Chinese military and intelligence.
The US FCC classifies Huawei and ZTE as security risks and bans them as vendors for projects under its Universal Service Fund due to suspected ties with the Chinese military and intelligence. The Federal Communications Commission is the body overseeing all information infrastructure in the United States. In a news release explaining the decision, the FCC said this is a step towards safeguarding security threats for US networks. Under the FCC’s Universal Service Fund, the two companies were banned as providers. The fund is a series of subsidies from which the US government will advance access to telecommunications services.
In the release, the FCC stated: “As a result of today’s action, money from the FCC’s $8.3 billion (about Rs. 62,676 crores) a year may no longer be used to buy, obtain, maintain, upgrade, modify or otherwise support any equipment or services produced or provided by these suppliers.”
“With today ‘s Instructions, and based on the overwhelming weight of facts, the Bureau has classified Huawei and ZTE as national security threats for America’s communications networks — and for our 5 G future,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in the statement.
“Both companies have close relations with the Chinese Communist Party and the military establishment of China, and both companies are essentially subject to Chinese legislation requiring them to collaborate with the intelligence services of the country.”
“The Bureau also took into account Congress, the Executive Branch, the intelligence community, our partners, and other telecom service providers’ findings and acts in other nations. We can not and will not allow the Communist Party of China to exploit the vulnerabilities in the network and compromise our vital communications infrastructure, “he added.
This comes only one day after the Indian government released an order banning 59 Chinese devices, including TikTok, for national security reasons, but at this stage, the government has taken no action against Chinese hardware providers.
US FCC Chairman Ajit Pai noted in a series of tweets that the two firms were classified as a security danger, adding that the decision was taken with input from “Congress, Executive Branch, Intelligence Community, Allies, and Communications Service Providers.”
BREAKING NEWS: The @FCC has designated #Huawei and #ZTE as companies posing a national security threat to the United States. As a result, telecom companies cannot use money from our $8.3B Universal Service Fund on equipment or services produced or provided by these suppliers. 1/5 pic.twitter.com/dH6QK4jbd4
— Ajit Pai (@AjitPaiFCC) June 30, 2020
He continued by saying, “We are sending out a strong message with this decision: the U.S. State, and this FCC, in particular, can not and will not allow the Communist Party of China to exploit weaknesses in US communications networks and threaten our vital communications infrastructure.
India banned 59 Chinese apps after they were flagged as a security threat to national security by Indian intelligence agencies amid ongoing tensions on borders with China. It will be interesting to see if more countries follow the footprints of India & the US and how will China respond to this.