New FCC Rules Block USF Federal Subsidies of U.S. Network Carriers Planning to Buy Huawei and/or ZTE Equipment
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) which administers the Universal Service Fund (USF) has added a new rule that bars American telecommunication companies from using and/or buying equipment from Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE.
The new USF requisite is in connection with the FCC’s decision to officially recognize Chinese telecommunications companies Huawei and ZTE as threats to national security.
FCC Board Chairman Ajit Pai remarked that in light of the threats posed by the aforementioned Chinese companies to the U.S. security and to the integrity of the country’s 5G future, the FCC cannot just sit idly and hope that nothing untoward happens.
The USF furnishes federal financial subsidies amounting to billions of dollars, available to American wireless carriers and network service providers, intending to offer wireless communication throughout the United States. The new FCC rule mirrors the shared views of U.S. intelligence officials and American legislators that Huawei and ZTE telecoms equipment could be used in carrying out espionage activities detrimental to the country’s security.
Actually, the FCC Committee plans to go further as the approving panel is also poised to sign on another ruling that requires U.S. wireless carriers to fully remove all Huawei equipment currently being used by their respective networks. According to FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, it follows that
”If Huawei equipment poses as a threat to the country’s national security, stopping federal subsidies is not enough.” “The equipment in question must also come out of the network.”
The new rules are set to take effect in February 2020, after having been pushed back several times over ever since the Trump administration took action in barring Huawei and ZTE from bringing their business to the U.S.
The Rural Wireless Association, a group comprised by rural wireless businesses, voiced concerns that making the change will come with significant across-the-board costs. Mainly because as rural wireless carriers and service providers, their plans and projections were based on using the more affordable and at the same time reliable, Huawei equipment.
Huawei Regards the New FCC Rules as Unlawful
Needless to say, the new FCC rules also pose as a major problem for Huawei. A Huawei spokesperson read a statement issued by the Chinese company, which believes the new USF condition is unlawful.
According to the statement, The Commission had adjudged Huawei as a threat to national security based on mistaken assumptions, innuendos and selective information. The FCC panel that approved the new ruling had done so without requiring and examining evidence that proves Huawei is indeed a security threat to the United States.