The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has banned the sale in the United States of telecommunications network equipment and services from several China-based providers – among other firms – because their use poses an “unacceptable risk to national security.”
In a Nov. 25 press release, the agency detailed the adoption of new rules that prohibit the authorization or sale of Chinese telecommunications and video surveillance gear from companies on the FCC’s “Covered List,” citing their risk to the nation’s critical infrastructure.
Huawei and ZTE telecommunications equipment sit at the top of the list of Chinese companies the U.S. wants to isolate, followed by digital radios from Hytera and video surveillance systems made by Hikvision and Dahua.
Also appearing on the Covered List – and also banned from sale and importation in the U.S. – are cybersecurity services from AO Kaspersky Lab, and communications services offered by China Mobile International USA, China Telecom (Americas), China Unicom (Americas), and Pacific Network Corp.
According to the FCC, the ban on U.S. sales and imports will help helped protect the nation’s communications networks and build a more secure and resilient supply chain for communications equipment and services within the United States.
“The FCC is committed to protecting our national security by ensuring that untrustworthy communications equipment is not authorized for use within our borders, and we are continuing that work here,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “These new rules are an important part of our ongoing actions to protect the American people from national security threats involving telecommunications.”
The new rules implement a directive in the Secure Equipment Act of 2021, signed into law by President Biden a year ago, that required the FCC to adopt such rules. Passage of that law marked the culmination of several years of Federal government efforts to identify China-sourced equipment – particularly from Huawei and ZTE – as too dangerous for use in the U.S. because of the companies’ close ties to China’s political leadership.
This ban comes after recent nudges by the House to cut foreign adversary tech influence within the United States – especially after the FBI determined that Huawei equipment installed atop cell towers can capture and disrupt highly restricted Defense Department communications.
The FCC said it is also seeking further public comment on additional revisions to rules governing the Covered List.