It was reported last week that the FCC could propose a new plan to block federal subsidies for carriers that use network equipment from Chinese manufacturers like Huawei and ZTE. FCC chairman Ajit Pai has sent out a statement today confirming the report. The Federal Communications Commission is going to put forward a proposal that’s aimed at preventing carriers and wireless providers in the country from purchasing network equipment made by Chinese companies.
Last week’s report had suggested that the carriers who didn’t comply would be prevented from drawing money from the FCC’s Universal Service Fund. The official statement confirms that this proposal is going to “bar the use of money 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.”
The Universal Service Fund is where the money that’s collected from small fees on cellphone bills goes. The money is used to provide subsidies to companies that provide broadband services in rural areas that are often ignored by major carriers.
Huawei and ZTE aren’t mentioned by name in the statement but it’s quite clear that this proposal has been put forward to prevent their equipment from being used in U.S. network infrastructure.
The FCC is going to publish its proposal tomorrow and will then seek comments on it.
I’m proposing to prohibit use of @FCC Universal Service Funds to purchase equipment or services from companies that pose national security risk to US communications networks or communications supply chain. My statement: https://t.co/knjWU9uKmw (Proposal to be released tomorrow.)
— Ajit Pai (@AjitPaiFCC) March 26, 2018
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