FCC asks China Telecom Americas to discontinue services in 60 days

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has voted to revoke China Telecom’s U.S. subsidiary’s authorization to operate in the United States, citing national security concerns.
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China Telecom, the largest Chinese telecommunications company, has had authorization to provide telecommunications services for nearly 20 years in the United States. China Telecom Americas must discontinue services within 60 days.

The FCC in April 2020 had warned that it might shut down the U.S. operations of three state-controlled Chinese telecommunications companies, citing national security risks, including China Telecom Americas as well as China Unicom Americas, Pacific Networks Corp and its wholly owned subsidiary ComNet (USA) LLC.

The FCC found that China Telecom is subject to exploitation, influence, and control by the Chinese government and is highly likely to be forced to comply with Chinese government requests without sufficient legal procedures subject to independent judicial oversight.

The FCC added that China Telecom Americas’ ownership and control by the Chinese government raise significant national security and law enforcement risks by providing opportunities for the company and the Chinese government” to access, store, disrupt, and/or misroute U.S. communications.

In March, the FCC began efforts to revoke authorization for China Unicom Americas, Pacific Networks and its wholly-owned subsidiary ComNet to provide U.S. telecommunications services.

In May 2019, the FCC voted unanimously to deny another state-owned Chinese telecommunications company, China Mobile, the right to provide U.S. services, citing risks that the Chinese government could use the approval to conduct espionage against the U.S. government.