The first proposal would prevent companies receiving money from the FCC’s annual $8.5 billion Universal Service Fund from purchasing equipment and services from Huawei and ZTE. Established in 1997, the Universal Service Fund allows telecommunication providers to subsidize their services for low-income households.
The second proposal would instill a process for certain rural wireless carriers to remove and replace equipment from the two companies. Part of the proposal involves assessing how much Huawei and ZTE equipment the carriers currently use and providing financial assistance to help carriers transition to alternatives.
The FCC will vote on the proposals November 19.
“When it comes to 5G and America’s security, we can’t afford to take a risk and hope for the best,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in the statement released today.
“As the United States upgrades its networks to the next generation of wireless technologies — 5G — we cannot ignore the risk that the Chinese government will seek to exploit network vulnerabilities in order to engage in espionage, insert malware and viruses, and otherwise compromise our critical communication networks.”
Pai also said Huawei and ZTE “pose an unacceptable risk to U.S. national security.”
The U.S. government claims Huawei and ZTE have ties to the Chinese government. It also claims the companies could use their products to spy on citizens and companies. These concerns led to the U.S. enacting a trade ban against Huawei in May. As for ZTE, the company is under probation until 2022 over previous violations of U.S. trade law.
In a response sent to Android Authority, Huawei said it has “no comment” on the matter. Android Authority also reached out to ZTE in regards to the FCC’s statement, but did not receive a response by press time.
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