Security threat

China Unicom (Americas) Operations Limited and Pacific Network Corp. and its wholly-owned subsidiary ComNet (USA) LLC have been added to a list of companies that are deemed a threat to national security by the FCC Public Safety and Security Bureau.

The National Telecommunications and Information Association (NTIA) had filed letters on behalf of executive branch interagency bodies advocating the move. The letters say that the two companies are, according to the press release, “subject to the exploitation, influence and control of the Chinese government, and the national security risks associated with such exploitation, influence, and control.”

The Department of Justice, in coordination with the Department of Defense, confirmed the executive branch’s view that the companies pose an unacceptable risk to the United States and
“United States persons.” The placement on the list was done under section 2 of the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019.

“Today we take another critical step to protect our communications networks from foreign national security threats,” Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a press release. “Earlier this year the FCC revoked China Unicom America’s and PacNet/ComNet’s authorities to provide service in the United States because of the national security risks they posed to communications in the United States. Now, working with our national security partners, we are taking additional action to close the door to these companies by adding them to the FCC’s Covered List. This action demonstrates our whole-of-government effort to protect network security and privacy.”

In June 2020, the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau formally designated Huawei Technologies Company and ZTE to be national security threats. The move prohibited the use of funds from the Universal Service Fund (USF) to purchase, obtain, maintain, improve, modify or otherwise support any equipment or services produced or provided by these suppliers.

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