The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is looking ban three more Chinese telco companies from US networks.
This FCC this week said it has begun efforts to revoke China Unicom Americas', Pacific Networks', and PN's wholly-owned subsidiary ComNet's authorization to provide telecommunications services in the country.
“Promotion of national security is an integral part of the Commission’s public interest responsibility, and today’s action seeks to protect the nation’s telecommunications infrastructure from potential security threats,” the Commission said in its statement on China Unicom.
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Chinese telcos excluded from US networks, data centers could be next
The FCC said that China Unicom Americas had ‘failed to dispel serious concerns’ over the role and influence the Chinese Government plays in its operations. Its statement on Pacific Networks & ComNet shares similar wording.
“The evidence compiled in our proceedings confirms that these companies are indirectly owned and controlled by the Chinese government,” said Acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel today. “As a result, there is strong reason to believe that they will have to comply with requests from the Chinese government and advance its goals and policies.”
Going forward, the FCC is undergoing a process to determine whether the three companies should have their licenses – known as section 214 authority – to operate in the US.
FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks also said Chinese telecom carriers “also own data centers operating within the United States,” but that the FCC currently lacks authority to address this “potential national security threat.”
China Telecom doesn’t own any US data centers but has colo space and/or points of presence at 27 US data centers on both seaboards. Pacific Networks and ComNet have colo space in a data center in Los Angeles, California,
In 2019 the FCC denied China Mobile USA’s application to provide telecom services, and in December the FCC launched proceedings to bar China Telecom (Americas) from providing telco services in the US.
“The protection of national security is an integral part of the Commission’s responsibility to advance the public interest, and today’s action seeks to safeguard the nation’s telecommunications infrastructure from potential security threats,” the Commission’s statement read.
Last week the FCC designated five Chinese companies – Huawei Technologies Co, ZTE Corp, Hytera Communications Corp, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co, and Zhejiang Dahua Technology Co. – as posing a threat to national security under the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019 (Secure Networks Act).
“This list provides meaningful guidance that will ensure that as next-generation networks are built across the country, they do not repeat the mistakes of the past or use equipment or services that will pose a threat to U.S. national security or the security and safety of Americans,” said Rosenworcel.