FCC to block purchase of equipment that threats US telecom networks

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Ajit Pai has shared a new proposal to address national security threats to U.S. communications networks and their supply chains.

FCC will meet on April 17  to vote on the proposal as part of the strategy to block the use of $8.5 billion from the FCC’s Universal Service Fund to purchase equipment or services from companies that pose a national security threat to United States communications networks or the communications supply chain.

It is not clear whether the new proposal will include network purchase by telecom operators such as AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile US, among others. A trade war is already between the U.S. and China.

FCC will release more details on the proposal tomorrow.

Earlier, US president Donald Trump blocked Singapore-based Brocade’s $117 billion bid for the acquisition of Qualcomm citing national security threats from China. It is clear that the U.S. administration has started fearing about the dominance of Huawei in the wireless space. Huawei is the leader in wireless technology market ahead of Ericsson and Nokia.

The move will benefit networking companies such as US-based Cisco Systems, HPE, Juniper Networks, among others.

“Threats to national security posed by certain communications equipment providers are a matter of bipartisan concern. Hidden back doors to our networks in routers, switches — and virtually any other type of telecommunications equipment — can provide an avenue for hostile governments to inject viruses, launch denial-of-service attacks, steal data, and more,” chairman Ajit Pai said.

Ajit Pai did not mention about China or China companies including Huawei. Recently, Best Buy, one of the major retail chains in the U.S. decided against buying smartphones from Huawei. Ajit Pai also did not mention about threat from semiconductor or chipsets which are used in smartphones.

“I’m proposing to prohibit the FCC’s $8.5 billion Universal Service Fund from being used to purchase equipment or services from any company that poses a national security threat to the integrity of communications networks or their supply chains,” Ajit Pai said.