FCC to forbid 3 more Chinese telcos to operate in the U.S.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is proceeding with measures to revoke the authority of three more Chinese telecom companies — China Unicom, Pacific Networks and ComNet (which is a subsidiary of Pacific Networks) — to operate in the United States.

“The evidence compiled in our proceedings confirms that these companies are indirectly owned and controlled by the Chinese government,” said Acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel today. “As a result, there is strong reason to believe that they will have to comply with requests from the Chinese government and advance its goals and policies.

The FCC said that executive branch agencies have concluded that mitigation measures would not be able to address the significant national security concerns raised by allowing these companies to operate in the U.S.

China Unicom (Americas) has operated in the U.S. for more than two decades.
The actions against these companies are similar to the FCC’s decision in 2019 to deny China Mobile’s application to operate in the U.S. and its 2020 decision to start a proceeding to revoke China Telecom’s prior authorization to operate in the U.S.

RELATED: FCC eyes cutting off China Telecom from U.S. market

Today, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr said that China Unicom, Pacific Networks and ComNet were asked to respond to questions from the FCC, defending their practices in the U.S. He said they provided “incomplete and inconsistent responses” that failed to address the concerns and, instead, raised fresh concerns about their ability to follow FCC rules.

Not only is the FCC working to deny U.S. access to all the named Chinese telcos, but Rosenworcel has also directed the FCC’s International Bureau to look at past grants of International Section 214 applications and recommend options for addressing more national security risks. 
Rosenworcel is also expanding the FCC’s International Bureau to consider any national security implications for submarine cable landing licenses. “On that front, I am pleased that applicants to build a Trans-Pacific cable linking Hong Kong to California agreed last week to reconfigure that system to meet ongoing national security concerns,” she said.