The FCC has adopted new rules prohibiting communications equipment from certain Chinese companies that is considered to pose an unacceptable risk to national security from being authorized for importation or sale in the U.S. 

The newly adopted rules prohibit the authorization of equipment through the FCC’s Certification process, clarifying that such equipment cannot be authorized under the Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity process or be imported or marketed under rules that allow exemption from an equipment authorization.

The covered list for both equipment and services includes communications equipment produced by Huawei Technologies, ZTE Corporation, Hytera Communications, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology, and Dahua Technology (and their subsidiaries and affiliates).

The commission also adopted a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking input on additional revisions that could be made to the rules and procedures prohibiting the authorization of “covered” equipment. It also seeks comment on potential revisions to the commission’s competitive bidding program.

This follows other rules and actions that the regulator, Congress, and the Executive Branch — under different administrations — have taken in an effort “build a more secure and resilient supply chain for communications equipment and services in the U.S.,” the FCC noted in a press release. 

The need to replace Chinese network equipment stems from federal government investigations into several Chinese-based manufacturers, including Huawei and ZTE, that have been deemed to pose a security threat to U.S. networks. The largest U.S. carriers opted not to use these manufacturers when concerns were first expressed, but some smaller carriers have deployed some of the Chinese equipment, primarily from Huawei.

In 2020 Congress passed the Secure and Trusted Communications Network Act, requiring the replacement of prohibited equipment, but it was almost a year before funding was made available to reimburse carriers for replacement costs.

 “The FCC is committed to protecting our national security by ensuring that untrustworthy communications equipment is not authorized for use within our borders, and we are continuing that work here,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel in a prepared statement. “These new rules are an important part of our ongoing actions to protect the American people from national security threats involving telecommunications.”

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