FCC Releases List of Communications Equipment and Services Raising National Security Risks

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Bringing to a close the process initiated with the adoption of the Secure and Trusted Communications Act of 2019, the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau released its list of communications equipment and services that it has deemed to pose an unacceptable risk to U.S. national security.  US-based service providers are prohibited from receiving federal subsidies for purchasing the listed communications equipment or services (the “Covered List”), and service providers will be given an opportunity to receive federal funds to subsidize the removal and replacement of the communications equipment and services included on the Covered List.

In particular, the following communications equipment or services are included on the Covered List, and are subject to the FCC’s implementation of the Act:

  • Telecommunications equipment produced or provided by Huawei Technologies Company, including telecommunications or video surveillance services produced or provided by such entity or using such equipment.
  • Telecommunications equipment produced or provided by ZTE Corporation, including telecommunications or video surveillance services produced or provided by such entity or using such equipment.
  • Video surveillance and telecommunications equipment produced or provided by Hytera Communications Corporation, to the extent it is used for the purpose of public safety, security of government facilities, physical security surveillance of critical infrastructure, and other national security purposes, including telecommunications or video surveillance services produced or provided by such entity or using such equipment.
  • Video surveillance and telecommunications equipment produced or provided by Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Company, to the extent it is used for the purpose of public safety, security of government facilities, physical security surveillance of critical infrastructure, and other national security purposes, including telecommunications or video surveillance services produced or provided by such entity or using such equipment.
  • Video surveillance and telecommunications equipment produced or provided by Dahua Technology Company, to the extent it is used for the purpose of public safety, security of government facilities, physical security surveillance of critical infrastructure, and other national security purposes, including telecommunications or video surveillance services produced or provided by such entity or using such equipment.

The FCC left open the possibility that the Covered List could be updated in the future with new communications equipment or services found to raise national security risks.

With the release of the Covered List, the FCC’s next step will be to finalize its rules for replacing the affected communications equipment and services.  The FCC adopted rules in December 2020 to establish the removal and replacement program.  Subsequently, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 provided $1.895 billion to be used for the program, and the FCC sought comment in February 2021 on its proposed rules to incorporate the funding.  Once the rules are finalized, it is expected that eligible wireless and wireline service providers will move quickly to swap out the equipment and services on the Covered List.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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