The Federal Communications Commission (FCC, American equivalent of Anatel) is taking steps to revoke the authority of three more Chinese telecommunications companies to operate in the United States: China Unicom, Pacific Networks and ComNet (a subsidiary of Pacific Networks). The news was given by FCC acting chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel last Wednesday. She added that “the evidence compiled in our follow-up confirms that these companies are indirectly owned and controlled by the Chinese government. As a result, there are strong reasons to believe that they will have to respond to the Chinese government’s requests and to advance its objectives and policies. ”
The FCC president said executive branch agencies concluded that the possible mitigation measures would not be able to address the significant national security concerns raised by allowing these companies to operate in the United States. China Unicom, for example, has been operating in the United States for more than two decades. The actions against these companies are similar to the FCC’s 2019 decision to deny China Mobile to operate an application in the U.S., and its 2020 decision to initiate a process to revoke China Telecom’s prior authorization to operate in the U.S.
FCC commissioner Brendan Carr said the three companies were asked to answer FCC questions, defending their practices in the U.S. He said the companies provided “incomplete and inconsistent responses” that failed to address concerns and, instead, raised new concerns about their ability to follow FCC rules.
Jessica Rosenworcel also instructed the FCC International Bureau to review previous Section 214 (international) grant requests and recommend options for dealing with other national security risks. It is also expanding the FCC’s International Bureau to consider any national security implications of licensing new submarine cables. “On that front, I am pleased that candidates to build a Trans-Pacific cable connecting Hong Kong to California last week agreed to reconfigure this system to address current national security concerns,” she said.
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