The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has revoked China Telecom’s authority to operate in the US.
The FCC is cracking down on another Chinese telecom, revoking China Telecom’s authority over national security concerns. The news comes after the FCC banned three other Chinese carriers in March.
The FCC is taking action based on a number of factors.
Based in part on the recommendation of the Executive Branch agencies, the Commission found that China Telecom Americas failed to rebut the serious concerns of the Executive Branch about its continued presence in the United States. In December 2020, the Commission launched a proceeding and established a process that allowed for China Telecom Americas, the Executive Branch agencies, and the public to present any remaining arguments or evidence in the matter.
China Telecom must cease operations in the US within 60 days of the order.
To assist U.S. customers with transitioning to other mobile service providers as a result of China Telecom Americas’ discontinued services, the FCC will issue a consumer guide after the Order is released that explains this action and what other options consumers might consider for mobile services. This document will be available in English, Simplified Chinese, and Traditional Chinese and made available on the Commission’s website. Additionally, the consumer guide will be sent to news outlets to further raise awareness to China Telecom Americas’ customers.
FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel emphasized the decision was not taken lightly.
“This is not a decision we make lightly. It has support from each of my colleagues. It has support across the federal government. In fact, last year a broad group of Executive Branch agencies, including the Department of Justice, Department of Defense, Department of State, Department of Commerce, and the United States Trade Representative formally recommended that we terminate FCC authorization for China Telecom Americas to provide interstate and international telecommunications services in the United States. At about the same time, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations issued a report on the threats that Chinese state-owned carriers pose to our telecommunications networks. In doing so, they highlighted a problem—that across the federal government there has not been enough oversight to safeguard our networks against evolving threats after issuance of a license.”