Thursday, July 16, 2020

FCC to build a list of equipment seen to pose national security risk

The FCC began integrating portions of the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act, which was enacted in March 2020, into its existing supply chain rulemaking proceeding. 

The FCC has already acted to ban USF support for equipment and services produced or provided by companies that pose a national security threat, namely Huawei and ZTE. 

The accompanying Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeks public comment on implementing various aspects of the Secure Networks Act, including proposals to: (1) create and maintain the list of covered communications equipment and services required by the statute; (2) ban the use of federal subsidies, including USF funding, for any communications equipment or services placed on this list; (3) require all providers of advanced communications services to report on whether they use any covered communications equipment or services; and (4) prevent waste, fraud, and abuse in the reimbursement program that is required by the statute to remove and replace insecure equipment. 

Last month, the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau formally designated Huawei Technologies Company and ZTE Corporation and their parents, affiliates, and subsidiaries as covered companies for purposes of the agency’s November 2019 ban.  As a result of those designations, money from the FCC’s $8.3 billion a year USF may no longer be used to purchase, obtain, maintain, improve, modify, or otherwise support any equipment or services produced or provided by these two suppliers.