The FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau today is continuing to take actions against telecom vendors that the agency perceives to be a threat to national security. The latest companies whose equipment or services have been deemed to be a security risk are AO Kaspersky Lab, China Telecom (Americas) Corp and China Mobile International USA Inc.
The regulator had earlier deemed Huawei and ZTE equipment as a threat and is requiring providers that deployed equipment from those companies (mostly Huawei) to replace it
The new rulings are a result of the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act, which requires the FCC to maintain and publish a list of telecom services and equipment considered to provide “an unacceptable risk to national security or the security and safety of U.S. persons.”
The first such list was published in March of last year, and is being updated as the regulator determines that other communications equipment and services meet the criteria.
“Last year, for the first time, the FCC published a list of communications equipment and services that pose an unacceptable risk to national security, and we have been working closely with our national security partners to review and update this list,” said Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, in a prepared statement. about the telecom national security threat news. “Today’s action is the latest in the FCC’s ongoing efforts, as part of the greater whole-of-government approach, to strengthen America’s communications networks against national security threats, including examining the foreign ownership of telecommunications companies providing service in the United States and revoking the authorization to operate where necessary. Our work in this area continues.”
Friday’s press release doesn’t say how extensively this additional equipment (or services) has been deployed or whether replacement will be required.
However, the amount of funding that the FCC has available to replace Huawei and ZTE equipment is already less than the amount that providers have requested from the replacement program and it’s not clear where funding to replace any equipment newly deemed to pose a risk would come from.