US FCC deems Huawei, ZTE to be threats to national security

  • US FCC deems Huawei, ZTE to be threats to national security

US FCC deems Huawei, ZTE to be threats to national security

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

"We can not and will not allow the Chinese Communist Party to exploit network vulnerabilities and compromise our critical communications infrastructure", the Republican-majority FCC said in a separate statement.

"Both Huawei and ZTE have close ties to the Chinese Communist Party and China's military apparatus", FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said on Twitter.

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

In the release, the FCC stated: "As a result of today's action, money from the FCC's $8.3 billion (approximately Rs. 62,676 crore) a year Universal Service Fund may no longer be used to purchase, obtain, maintain, improve, modify, or otherwise support any equipment or services produced or provided by these suppliers".

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

United States 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. In a public statement, FCC commissioner Geoffrey Starks, a Democrat, explained that labeling the companies threats is a start, but that there is a great deal of Huawei and ZTE equipment already in use that needs to be identified and replaced. However, the Trump administration has reportedly been holding talks with U.S. tech and private equity firms in an effort to wrest dominance of the new technology out of Beijing's control, floating possibilities including a government-backed consortium buying a controlling stake in Nokia or Ericsson - the two non-Chinese companies rounding out the top four 5G providers.

The Indian Express is now on Telegram.