US President Joe Biden has signed the Secure Equipment Act that bars companies like Huawei and ZTE from receiving network licenses. The new rules lead to a ban on the FCC from considering any requests for network equipment that could pose a threat to national security.
With this action, Reuters reports, the FCC can no longer issue or review licenses for companies affected by bandwidth in the United States. It passed 420-4 in the House of Representatives and was approved unanimously by the US Senate last month.
We have already established that this device poses an unacceptable risk to our national security, so closing what I have called the “Huawei loophole” is an appropriate measure to take.
Last year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) officially designated ZTE and Huawei as national security threats, finding that the two companies had close ties to the Chinese Communist Party. However, they were still able to apply for licenses as long as there was no federal money involved. To this end, the Safe Equipment Act closes this “gap”.
Once we determine that Huawei or other devices pose an unacceptable national security risk, it makes no sense to allow such equipment to be purchased and placed in our communications networks as long as there is no federal money involved. The presence of these devices in our networks is the threat, not the source of funding used to purchase them
Earlier this year, the FCC launched a $1.9 billion “rip and replace” program to help US carriers replace Huawei and ZTE equipment for their use. Representative Steve Scales said last week that Huawei and ZTE are probably the two most important companies that still have a lot of equipment that Americans’ data continues to pass through.
Huawei has not yet commented on the new legislation, but last summer called the proposed review by the Federal Communications Commission “unnecessarily misleading and punitive.” Joe Biden is expected to speak with Chinese leader Xi Jinping at a “virtual summit” tentatively scheduled for next Monday. Effects are expected.
In August, ZTE unveiled the Axon 30 smartphone with an under-display camera. In recent days, Huawei’s plan to sell its server division has surfaced to ensure its survival in the face of the US embargo.