July 1 (UPI) — The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) officially listed Huawei and ZTE as national security threats on Tuesday, local time,media reported. That means U.S. telecommunications companies will be barred from using federal funds to buy equipment from both companies. “In accordance with today’s order and on the basis of solid evidence, the FCC has listed Huawei and ZTE as future national security threats to U.S. communications networks and 5G,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement Tuesday. “
FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks also said Tuesday that there are still “untrustworthy devices” in the U.S. network and said Congress must set aside funds for replacement.
By listing Huawei and ZTE as national security threats, the FCC prohibits telecommunications companies from using government-subsidized funds to buy network equipment from the $8.3 billion Universal Services Fund (USF). In November, the FCC voted to prevent telecommunications companies from using federal funds to buy equipment from Huawei, but the order went into effect Tuesday.
Huawei and ZTE did not immediately respond to requests for comment. However, both companies have repeatedly denied that they pose a threat to U.S. national security. The FCC’s move to block the telecoms industry from using the Universal Services Fund to buy equipment from Huawei and ZTE could make it harder for smaller companies to provide affordable services.
Over the past few years, the U.S. government has been calling for a ban on Chinese telecommunications companies such as Huawei and ZTE from entering the U.S. market because of national security concerns. The U.S. Commerce Department placed Huawei on its “entity list” in May 2019 and recently revised the ban to allow the company to help build the 5G standard.
The Trump administration also moved in 2018 to ban government contractors from using the company’s equipment.