FCC Mandates Chinese Telcos to Cease US Internet Broadband Services

FCC has issued an ordering on Thursday mandating the U.S. operations of some Chinese telcos to stop their fixed or mobile internet.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued an ordering on Thursday mandating the U.S. operations of some Chinese telcos to stop their fixed or mobile internet broadband services in the country. 

This order that includes China Telecom, China Unicom, and China Mobile, along with Pacific Networks and its subsidiary ComNet, is based on the FCC’s resolution related to net neutrality. This decision requires the Chinese carriers to cease their services within a period of 60 days of the order’s effective date. 

According to Jessica Rosenworcel, chairperson of the FCC, there is evidence proving that these Chinese telecom companies have been providing broadband internet services in the U.S. territories. Thus, the reason why the FCC made the decision to withdraw or prevent these companies from offering telecommunications is due to national security concerns.  

The FCC also believes that these firms have the potential to be exploited, influenced, or monitored by the Chinese government. 

For his part, Geoffrey Starks, an FCC commissioner, noted that China Telecom operate 26 internet Points of Presence (POPs) within the U.S, offering colocation, broadband, IP transit, and data center services. He also said that the agency is mainly concerned about the Chinese telco access to these POPs since they play a significant role in interconnecting other networks, as well as having access to data centers. 

In fact, since 2022, the FCC has been assessing vulnerabilities in the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), an important component of the internet’s global routing system, due to concerns related to security and integrity. Hence, the recent measure taken by the FCC is part of a comprehensive initiative of the U.S. government that aims to restrict Chinese telecom carriers, including limiting their participation in undersea cables that manage internet traffic. 

Similarly, the federal agency, had previously banned the approval of new telecommunications equipment from Chinese companies, such as Huawei and ZTE, given the significant risks to the national security of the U.S. 

Following the issued order by the FCC, the concerned Chinese companies have not yet responded to requests for comment on the decision. 

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