The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is taking action to ban three Chinese wireless carriers: China Unicom, Pacific Networks and ComNet.
The US has been banning multiple Chinese firms, especially in the telecommunications space. Officials have accused the companies of being a threat to national security and consumer privacy as a result of their ties to Beijing.
In two separate statements about the three wireless carriers, the FCC used the same language, saying all three companies “are indirectly and ultimately owned and controlled by the government of the People’s Republic of China.” China Unicom, as well as Pacific Networks and its subsidiary, ComNet, were all asked last year to make a case as to why they don’t pose a threat and shouldn’t be banned.
“In 2019, when we blocked China Mobile USA from entering the U.S. market based on national security concerns, I said it was time for a top to bottom review of every telecom carrier with ties to the communist regime in China,” said Commissioner Brendan Carr. “Many of these firms were authorized to operate in the U.S. decades ago and the security threats have evolved substantially in the intervening years. With that type of review in mind, the FCC opened investigations into several carriers—including the carriers at issue here, China Unicom Americas, Pacific Networks, and ComNet. We have provided them with the process necessary for the FCC to identify and eliminate any threats they may pose to America’s national security.
“These three carriers provided incomplete and inconsistent responses that failed to address these threats and in turn raised fresh concerns about their ability to follow FCC rules. The Executive Branch agencies with responsibility for national security reviews have echoed these concerns and advise that traffic on these networks ‘remains subject to exploitation, influence, and control by the Chinese government.’ I therefore agree with the Commission’s determination today. The potential national security threats posed by these carriers requires the FCC to initiate revocation proceedings.”
Any hope Chinese companies had of being under less scrutiny with the Biden administration appears to be fading fast.