The FCC has formally declared both Huawei and ZTE as threats to national security.
The US has been waging a campaign against Huawei and ZTE for some time, citing concerns over their close ties to the Chinese government. The US has consistently maintained the companies, especially Huawei, serve as a conduit for Beijing to spy on governments and organizations around the world.
As a result, US officials have taken steps to ban both companies from participating in US networks, and have pressured allies to do the same. Now the FCC is ratcheting up the pressure by labeling both companies as threats to national security.
“We cannot treat Huawei and ZTE as anything less than a threat to our collective security,” Commissioner Carr stated. “Communist China intends to surveil persons within our borders and engage in large-scale, industrial espionage. Nothing short of prohibiting subsidized Huawei and ZTE gear from our networks could address this serious national security threat. After all, Chinese law does not meaningfully restrain the Communist regime given its authoritarian nature.
“America has turned the page on the weak and timid approach to Communist China of the past. We are now showing the strength needed to address Communist China’s threats. And our efforts will not stop here. The FCC will continue to take whatever steps are necessary to secure America’s communications networks from bad actors that would do us harm,” Commissioner Carr added.
The designation means that companies cannot use funds from the FCC’s Universal Service Fund to purchase, maintain or support equipment from either company.