US bans two more Chinese telecommunications providers

The US has added Chinese entities Pacific Network and China Unicom (Americas) to its list of banned telecommunications providers.

in the statement issued last week, Federal Communications Commission chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said: “Today we take another critical step to protect our communications networks from foreign national security threats.

“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 US.

“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.”

The ban on China Telecom Americas was put in place in October last year.

In a statement, former US under-secretary of state Keith Krach praised the FCC for imposing the ban.

“Chinese telcos are tools of the Chinese Communist Party’s surveillance state,” he said. “History’s worst dictators could only dream of such instruments of oppression.

“The Clean Network’s defeat of the CCP’s [Chinese Communist Party’s] attempt to dominate the global 5G infrastructure serves as a proven, replicable model to repel the Chinese government’s technological and economic threats, which are not limited to 5G.

“The CCP is trying to extend its malign influence by attempting to control clean-energy supply chains, harvest the data of millions of TikTok users, or try to corner the semiconductor market through a looming military takeover of Taiwan.

“The government is right to deem these Chinese telecommunications companies as an extension of the Chinese government and therefore a threat to our national security. We cannot extend an open door to the tools of the Chinese surveillance state, nor can we trust the Chinese to play fair and honor their agreements.”

In May 2019, the FCC blocked China Mobile USA from entering the American market, claiming a similar threat. The decision was taken eight years after the company applied for permission to operate mobile services.

China Unicom is one of the top three mobile operators in China, the others being China Mobile and China Telecom.

The American bans have been enacted under the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019.

The Act requires the FCC to publish and maintain a list of equipment and services that pose an unacceptable communications risk to national security or the security and safety of people in the US.

The initial list was published in March 2021. The current list is here.


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