US regulator rejects ZTE’s national security threat petition

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US regulator the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has rejected ZTE’s petition asking it to reconsider the decision to designate the Chinese telecommunications company as a national security threat.

In June, the FCC officially designated Chinese telecommunications companies, Huawei and ZTE, as threats to national security.

This as the trade war between the US and China, two of the world’s biggest economies, continues to rage on.

The US has frequently accused companies such as ZTE and Huawei of being national security threats because of their alleged close ties with the Chinese government.

However, the companies have dismissed these allegations.

In a statement, the FCC says it has denied a petition for reconsideration of the commission’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau’s 30 June 2020 order designating ZTE as a company posing a national security threat to the integrity of communications networks or the communications supply chain.

After reviewing the record, the regulator says it found no basis for reconsideration. As a result, it notes, the FCC’s $8.3 billion a year Universal Service Fund cannot be used to purchase, obtain, maintain, improve, modify, or otherwise support any equipment or services produced or provided by ZTE as well as its parents, affiliates and subsidiaries.

“With today’s order, we are taking another important step in our ongoing efforts to protect US communications networks from security risks,” says FCC chairman Ajit Pai.

“At the next open meeting on 10 December, the commission will vote on rules to implement the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Reimbursement programme to help carriers remove and replace untrusted equipment from their networks, months before the statutory deadline. Now, it is more vital than ever that Congress appropriate funds so that our communications networks are protected from vendors that threaten our national security.”

In September, the FCC said it will cost the US an estimated $1.8 billion to remove Chinese carriers Huawei and ZTE from the country’s rural networks.

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