The US President Joe Biden has signed legislation that stops companies judged to be a security threat from receiving new telecoms equipment licences.
This bill requires the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to establish rules stating that it will no longer review or approve any authorization application for equipment that is on the list of covered communications equipment or services. (Listed communications equipment or services are those that the FCC determines pose an unacceptable risk to national security or the security and safety of U.S. persons.)
The act is known as “Secure Equipment Act of 2021”
The rule states that equipment from Huawei, ZTE and three other Chinese companies cannot be used in US telecoms networks.
In 2020, the FCC adopted new rules to require that U.S. telecommunications carriers rip out and replace equipment provided by “covered” companies. While that was an important step, those rules only apply to equipment purchased with federal funding. The very same equipment can still be used if purchased with private or non-federal government dollars. Rubio and Markey introduced the Secure Equipment Act to close this loophole and further prevent identified security threats from having a presence in U.S. telecommunications networks.
“Chinese companies that have already been identified as national security threats should not be allowed to sell us compromised equipment and services,” Rubio said. “Senator Markey and I commend the House for passing our Secure Equipment Act — bipartisan legislation that would close that loophole and protect American telecommunications networks. Now, we call on the Senate to do the same and send it straight to the president’s desk.”
Duncan is a technology professional with over 20 years experience of working in various IT roles. He has a interest in cyber security, and has a wide range of other skills in radio, electronics and telecommunications.