The United States Federal Communications Commission is pushing forward a proposal that ban telecom providers [PDF] to use equipment manufactured by manufacturers considered to present a risk to national security.
The agency opened a request for comment on rules that would revoke the certification of any equipment listed by the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019. This probe also sought to assess the temperature to withdraw certification for equipment “on high.” risk ”already deployed by carriers.
Both Huawei and ZTE were listed in the notification, along with smaller entities which angered the US government. These include Hytera Communications Corporation, which produces radio systems for cellular and industrial users, as well as CCTV providers Dahua and Hikvision.
Both Dahua and Hikvision have been accused of providing technology used in the surveillance of China’s Uyghur minority.
The proposed rule change represents an escalation in the FCC’s attempt to remove Huawei and ZTE from the US telecommunications network. His previous tactics have included preventing rural carriers from using federal grants to acquire new equipment from designated high-risk offenders.
Although most of the big names in the US telecommunications market rely on equipment made by Ericsson, Nokia and, to a lesser extent, Samsung, cash-strapped providers serving rural markets have traditionally gone for the option. the cheapest available. In many cases, this has been Huawei.
In a statement, Acting FCC President Jessica Rosenworcel said it “does not make sense” to ban new purchases while allowing existing equipment to remain in circulation, nor to allow carriers to purchase high-risk equipment with their own funds.
“Despite having identified security issues with Huawei and ZTE telecommunications equipment in 2019, this agency has continued to approve this equipment in recent years. In other words, we have left opportunities open for its use in the United States through our equipment authorization process. So here we are proposing to close this door, ”said Rosenworcel.
Republican Commissioner Brendan Carr described it as a “glaring loophole” that Huawei continues to use.
“The FCC, through its equipment authorization process, continues to approve for use in the United States thousands of applications from Huawei and other entities considered to be threats to national security. The FCC has approved more than 3,000 applications from Huawei alone since 2018. And this month, the FCC approved Hytera Communications’ applications. “
“Once an entity arrives on our Covered List, there does not appear to be a reason for the FCC to continue to review its equipment and offer the FCC Seal of Approval,” Carr added.
While the FCC has already dispersed funds to remove Huawei-made equipment, the agency is considering other potential incentives, as well as a framework that could make the transition less painful for carriers and consumers.
The period for requesting comments was set at 30 days after the notice was published in the Federal Register. The agency said it hopes to hear from all entities that may be affected by a possible rule change, including operators, RF licensees and manufacturers of communications equipment.
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