Turner, Cotton Applaud FCC Proposal to Discourage Purchase of Huawei Products

Recently, the Federal Communications Commission proposed a rule prohibiting certain telecom carriers from buying products from Huawei, a company with close ties to the Chinese government. Under the rule, any carrier that accesses the Universal Service Fund, which subsidizes small and rural carriers, would be prohibited from purchasing products from companies that pose a national security threat to the United States. The FCC’s decision comes on the heels of a letter that Senator Tom Cotton (AR) and I, as well as several other elected representatives sent to the FCC in December, raising concerns about Huawei’s ability to capture Americans’ private information and asking the FCC to take action.

As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, it was made clear to me that Huawei cannot be trusted and would pose a security threat if given access to U.S. government networks. I am pleased FCC Chairman Pai has received a briefing from the Intelligence Community and understands the risk Huawei poses. The FCC’s decision to not use Huawei products is an important step in protecting it from possible security breaches, and I fully support them in this.

“To allow the FCC Universal Service Fund to be spent purchasing equipment from companies with strong ties to the Chinese government would have jeopardized not only the privacy of American citizens but our national security as well,” said Senator Cotton. “I’m glad to see the FCC act on the concerns we raised in December and prevent Americans’ private information from falling into the hands of the Chinese government. Now Congress should do its part by passing the bill I’ve introduced that would prohibit the U.S. government from using any of Huawei’s products."

Background

  • In December 2017, Senator Cotton and I, along with several other elected representatives sent a letter raising concerns about news that a major U.S. telecom provider would start selling Huawei products in the U.S. in 2018.
  • FCC Chairman Ajit Pai replied to the letter last week, thanking the elected representatives for raising their concerns.
  • Under the proposed rule,  any carrier that accesses the Universal Service Fund, which subsidizes small and rural carriers, would be prohibited from purchasing products from companies that pose a national security threat to the United States, such as Huawei.
  • The FCC will vote on the proposed rule at its April 17 meeting.
  • Senator Cotton has also introduced a bill that would prohibit the federal government from purchasing any of Huawei’s products.
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