FCC votes to advance proposed ban on Chinese telecom equipment

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted unanimously Thursday to explore a proposal that would ban U.S. companies from buying telecommunications equipment that poses national security risks. 

The proposal, which won initial approval among all commissioners, could also revoke prior authorizations for any equipment deemed a national security threat on the FCC’s “covered list,” including Huawei and ZTE. 

The FCC’s vote was cheered by a bipartisan group of senators who previously introduced legislation that mirrors the FCC’s action Thursday. 

Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Steve Scalise (R-La.) introduced their bill earlier this week, and Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) introduced similar legislation last month. 

“We applaud the FCC’s vote to put national security first by keeping compromised Chinese equipment out of U.S. telecommunications networks,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement. 

Their proposed legislation would direct the FCC to clarify that it will no longer review or approve applications from companies deemed a threat. The bills would also prevent further integration and sales of companies on the FCC’s “covered list” in the U.S. regardless of whether federal funds are involved. 

In addition to Huawei and ZTE, the Chinese companies Hytera Communications Corporation, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Company and Dahua Technology Company, are on the FCC’s list. 

Huwaei criticized the proposal advanced by the FCC. 

“Blocking the purchase of equipment, based on a ‘predictive judgment,’ related to country of origin or brand is without merit, discriminatory and will do nothing to protect the integrity of U.S. communications networks or supply chains,” a Huawei representative told The New York Times

Tags Anna Eshoo Dahua Technology Company Ed Markey Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Company Huawei Hytera Communications Corporation Marco Rubio Steve Scalise ZTE

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