What you need to know
- FCC votes to in favor of a plan that would approve bans for Chinese telecom equipment that are a national threat.
- The ban would affect companies like Huawei and ZTE.
- FCC does not want to have any "opportunities" for the use of companies that are considered "untrustworthy."
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted in favor to advance a plan that would approve bans for equipment in U.S. telecom networks from Chinese companies that are considered a national security threat.
The ban would affect companies like Huawei and ZTE, Reuters reported. Equipment from Huawei, for example, have been used by many telecom companies in the U.S. to power rural areas of the country, which help function some of the best Android phones. The approval caused opposition from Beijing.
"The United States, without any evidence, still abuses national security and state power to suppress Chinese companies," said Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson at China's foreign ministry. "Once again we urge the U.S. to stop stretching the concept of national security and stop politicizing economic issues."
The proposed rules that won an initial approval, would also revoke any equipment that was authorized to Chinese companies. Huawei told Reuters that the FCC revision was "misguided and unnecessarily punitive."
Jessica Rosenworcel said the new measures would "exclude untrustworthy equipment from our communications network… We have left open opportunities for (Huawei and other Chinese equipment) use in the United States through our equipment authorization process. So here we propose to close that door."
Reuters reported that the U.S. has approved more than 3,000 applications from Huawei since 2018.
In 2019, the FCC designated five Chinese companies as a threat to national security under a 2019 U.S. law protecting U.S. communications networks. Affected companies included Huawei, ZTE, Hytera Communications Corp, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co, and Zhejiang Dahua Technology Co.
In 2020, the FCC designated Huawei and ZTE as a national security threat to communications networks and barred them from tapping into any funding that the government was offering. In December, the FCC finalized that the two companies' equipment would be ripped out and replaced. It proposed a reimbursement program, which received a $1.9 billion fund from U.S. lawmakers.