In a move directed at rural wireless infrastructure, the FCC will consider rules that would prohibit the use of Universal Service Funds to purchase equipment or services, and to remove existing equipment, from companies that threaten national security, effectively locking out Huawei Technologies and ZTE.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai circulated a two-part proposal that would help safeguard the nation’s communications networks to the other commissioners yesterday, who will vote on at the commission’s Nov. 19 meeting.
“We need to make sure our networks won’t harm our national security, threaten our economic security, or undermine our values. The Chinese government has shown repeatedly that it is willing to go to extraordinary lengths to do just that,” Chairman Pai said in a prepared statement.
To get around the ban, Huawei is looking to license its 5G technology to American company.
First, a draft Report and Order would bar communications companies from using any support they receive from the FCC’s Universal Service Fund to purchase equipment or services from companies posing a national security threat. The draft Order would also establish a process for designating other suppliers that pose a national security threat.
Second, a draft Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking would propose requiring certain carriers receiving USF funds to remove existing equipment and services from designated companies from their networks and seek comment on how to provide financial assistance to these carriers to help them transition to more trusted suppliers. The draft item would also adopt an information collection to help assess the extent to which eligible telecommunications carriers have deployed Huawei and ZTE equipment in their networks as well as the costs to remove and replace it.