FCC Bans China Unicom, Pacific Networks, and ComNet Over National Security Concerns

The FCC orders Chinese telecom firms to discontinue US operations, citing national security concerns over potential Chinese government influence and control. This decision reflects ongoing US-China tensions in the tech sector.

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Aqsa Younas Rana
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FCC Bans China Unicom, Pacific Networks, and ComNet Over National Security Concerns

FCC Bans China Unicom, Pacific Networks, and ComNet Over National Security Concerns

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has ordered the U.S. units of China Telecom, China Unicom, and China Mobile to discontinue their fixed or mobile broadband internet operations in the United States within 60 days. The order also applies to Chinese telecom companies Pacific Networks and its wholly owned subsidiary ComNet. The FCC cited national security concerns, stating that the Chinese telecom firms were "subject to exploitation, influence, and control by the Chinese government."

This action is the latest in Washington's efforts to restrict Chinese telecom carriers, including the FCC's previous bans on new telecommunications equipment from Huawei Technologies and ZTE. The FCC had previously barred these companies from providing telecommunications services in the U.S., and those decisions were upheld by U.S. courts.

FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks noted that China Telecom operates 26 internet Points of Presence (POPs) in the U.S. and offers various services, raising concerns about Chinese access to these critical infrastructure points. The FCC's decision also extends to undersea cables handling internet traffic, further highlighting the security and integrity concerns surrounding the internet's global routing system.

Why this matters:

The FCC's order is part of a broader effort by the U.S. government to address potential security risks posed by Chinese telecommunications companies. "The FCC has taken a critical step to protect our communications networks from foreign national security threats," said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel in a statement. As the U.S. continues to navigate the complex relationship with China in the technology sector, this decision marks a significant development in the ongoing debate over national security and global telecommunications infrastructure.

Key Takeaways

  • FCC orders Chinese telecom firms to discontinue U.S. operations within 60 days.
  • FCC cites national security concerns over Chinese government's influence on firms.
  • Decision extends to undersea cables, highlighting global internet infrastructure risks.
  • Part of broader U.S. effort to address security risks posed by Chinese telecoms.
  • Marks significant development in U.S.-China tech tensions over national security.