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FCC declines ZTE’s national security threat appeal – there’s a shock

Chinese vendor ZTE asked US telecoms regulator FCC to reconsider its designation as a national security threat, but the FCC said no.

Not one of the biggest shockers of the year, for sure, but at least ZTE forced the FCC to adopt some semblance of due process. The designation was made over the summer and included Huawei too. A bit like the recently announced UK telecoms law, it effectively formalized a position the US had held and enforced for some time when it comes to Chinese telecoms vendors.

ZTE seems to be borrowing from the Huauwei strategy of challenging the US and its allies to demonstrate that their actions adhere to their own rules. This involves challenging them in the courts of the countries in question and insisting that they get the same treatment as everyone else.

It’s debatable whether or not the FCC has demonstrated either due process or equal treatment. “After reviewing the record, the Bureau found no basis for reconsideration,” said the short FCC statement. Well that’s that then – they had another look and concluded everything’s in order. End of.

“With today’s order, we are taking another important step in our ongoing efforts to protect U.S. communications networks from security risks,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “At the next open meeting on December 10, the Commission will vote on rules to implement the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Reimbursement program 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.”

Why it took over four months to tell ZTE to shove its appeal remains a mystery, perhaps the FCC wanted to create the impression it was giving it serious thought. Having done so the FCC now passes the baton to a political system in a state of transition to compensate those operators forced to incur significant expense through no fault of their own.

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3 comments

  1. Avatar Pete Pifer 26/11/2020 @ 1:14 pm

    If you take the time to research it, you will see Huawei and ZTE’s past in bribing their way to success, attempting to capture trade secrets, etc
    It would make a better informed news story.
    The big story is how easy it would be for them to shut down our networks because of the location of their hardware.

    • Scott Bicheno Scott Bicheno 26/11/2020 @ 1:19 pm

      Research is for losers.

    • Avatar Pete 26/11/2020 @ 9:04 pm

      Ha! A bit off point, but humorous.
      Well done

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