The FCC has started to collect data from carriers on their use of Huawei and ZTE equipment and services. The collection is in connection with the adoption of a rule requiring recipients of Universal Service funds to remove and replace equipment/services from companies that pose a national security threat.
The FCC has proposed a reimbursement program to offset the transition costs of small rural carriers and other affected parties. The data collection is the beginning of the establishment of that program. It also will be used for other FCC actions to protect the communications supply chain.
The information is required for carriers participating in the USF and voluntary for others. The deadline for submission through the FCC portal is April 22. “Huawei and ZTE have been initially designated as threats to national security,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a press release. “Given that those designations may become final this spring, we are moving forward quickly to identify where equipment and services from these suppliers are embedded in our communications networks and, where they do have a foothold, to be in a position to help remove them. Today we’ve begun to collect the data we will need to protect our networks and protect the American people.”
FCC Huawei ZTE Data
The FCC will collect information from those carriers receiving Universal Services funds and their affiliates and subsidiaries. That information will include whether they own or use equipment or services from Huawei or ZTE, the nature of what they use, the costs associated with purchase and/or installation of the equipment and/or services and the costs associated with removing and replacing those elements.
The vote preventing wireless carriers from using the USF money on Huawei and ZTE equipment and the further notice of proposed rulemaking seeking comment on requiring those that have such equipment and services to remove them was made last November. The FCC said at that time that it would take the steps announced today. Huawei released a statement at the time saying that it believes the order is unlawful and the conclusion that the company is a security risk is based on a mistaken view of Chinese law.