The Federal Communications Commission has “terminated” China Telecom’s authority to provide services in the U.S.
In a move more expected from the last administration than the current one, the FCC said that China Telecom represents a security risk. China Telecom has been operating in the U.S. since 2002. It is not clear why the U.S. did not do anything about this during the last administration.
The FCC now believes that they (China Telecom) can access and store information, disrupt communications and route communications through hostile countries.
In addition, since China Telecom is state-controlled, the FCC is concerned that they would have to do the government’s bidding, if asked.
They said the termination was based on a demonstrated lack of candor, trust and reliability.
They also said that they did not think that any possible mitigation would improved the situation.
Finally, they said that China Telecom has already violated some of their constraints to operate.
Part of the assessment is based on classified information.
Jessica Rosenworcel, current acting FCC chair, who has been nominated by President Biden to become the permanent chair, said, basically, there is a new sheriff in town and they are currently looking at China Unicom and other similar carriers.
She also said that the FCC is now going to regularly review foreign carriers’ authorizations.
In addition, she said that there is a new process for underseas cable authorization.
Current China Telecom customers have 60 days to find a replacement.
Beijing is going to be quite unhappy. They may retaliate, which could make things difficult for U.S. companies with operations in China. If China shuts down U.S. carriers and the U.S. shuts down Chinese carriers, some companies could find themselves working with pencils and a Big Chief tablet. Key among those companies are U.S. tech companies like Apple, Dell and thousands of others. Long term, that would reduce U.S. dependency on China, which is good for the U.S. In the short term it could make the supply chain issues we currently have even worse.
Stay tuned, this is not over.
Credit: The Register