Huawei: FCC proposal would hurt poor, rural communities

Huawei: FCC proposal would hurt poor, rural communities
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Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei is fighting back against some of the negative claims that U.S. government officials have been making about the company in recent months.

In a Thursday filing with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Huawei focused on recent moves by the agency to restrict rural carriers from purchasing telecommunications equipment made by Huawei and other Chinese companies.

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Huawei, with the help of telecommunications economist Allan Shampine, argued that by imposing new rules, the agency could hurt poor, rural communities.

“These high costs, which would particularly harm Americans in remote and low-income areas, cannot be justified by the supposed national security benefits of the proposed rule, because these are speculative,” Huawei wrote.

The company argued that some rural providers would likely stop participating in the Universal Service Fund (USF), an FCC program that subsidizes broadband and telecommunications services and equipment for low-income households and communities.

Huawei said it would make more sense for them to do this, than to “rip out and replace their core network.”

Many small, rural providers rely on Huawei equipment.

“At best, the proposed rule would only target one of many potential threats to the integrity of the supply chain, leaving many other vulnerabilities unaddressed,” Huawei argued.

The FCC in April voted in favor of considering a rule to not spend USF money on equipment from companies that pose a national security threat.

Their consideration of the policy was a direct response to prodding from lawmakers, such as Sen. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonHillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Tech groups take aim at Texas Republican lawmakers raise security, privacy concerns over Huawei cloud services Debt ceiling fight pits corporate America against Republicans MORE (R-Ark.), who have warned of the national security risks that Chinese telecommunications companies pose.

Cotton and others, including Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioDemocrats face bleak outlook in Florida The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Dems attempt to tie government funding, Ida relief to debt limit Poll: Trump dominates 2024 Republican primary field MORE (R-Fla.) and Rep. Mike ConawayKenneth (Mike) Michael ConawayEx-Sen. Cory Gardner joins lobbying firm If Congress can't work together to address child hunger we're doomed Ex-Rep. Mike Conaway, former aide launch lobbying firm MORE (R-Texas), have moved to push other Chinese telecommunications firms out the of the U.S. by attempting to reimpose harsh penalties on ZTE for violating sanctions.

Other agencies, such as the Defense Department, have taken action as well. The Pentagon earlier this year barred Huawei and ZTE from selling phones on U.S. military bases.