The FCC has stripped away federal subsidies from Huawei and ZTE, two Chinese telecoms giants which have been deemed as national security threats in recent years due to their ties to the Chinese government.
“Both Huawei and ZTE have close ties to the Chinese government and military apparatus and are subject to Chinese laws requiring them to assist with espionage, a threat recognized by other federal agencies and the governments of other nations,” The FCC said on Friday. “The public funds in the FCC’s USF, which subsidizes U.S. broadband deployment and service through four separate programs, must not endanger national security through the purchase of equipment from companies posing a national security risk.”
For Huawei especially, this move comes as just one more blow from the US. While the firm has begun to resume trade with US firms like Microsoft, the relationship is still far from stable at the moment. Huawei says that it hasn’t been employed for espionage, but its pleas continue to fall on deaf ears. It’s not like the firm is squeaky clean either.
“We take these actions based on evidence in the record as well as longstanding concerns from the executive and legislative branches about the national security threats posed by certain foreign communications equipment manufacturers, most particularly Huawei and ZTE. Both companies have close ties to China’s Communist government and military apparatus. Both companies are subject to Chinese laws broadly obligating them to cooperate with any request from the country’s intelligence services and to keep those requests secret. Both companies have engaged in conduct like intellectual property theft, bribery, and corruption,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said. “Given the threats posed by Huawei and ZTE to America’s security and our 5G future, this FCC will not sit idly by and hope for the best.”