FCC Seeks Comment on National Security Threats from Huawei, ZTE and Other Telco Supply Chain Vendors

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The FCC has released a Public Notice seeking comment on the applicability of Section 889(b)(1) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (2019 NDAA) to the Commission’s rulemaking efforts to protect against national security threats to the communications supply chain. In April 2018, the Commission adopted the Supply Chain Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which proposed and sought comment on a rule to prohibit the use of Universal Service Fund (USF) support to purchase equipment or services from any company identified as posing a national security risk to communications networks or the communications supply chain. In August 2018, Congress passed the 2019 NDAA. Section 889(b)(1) of the 2019 NDAA prohibits the head of an executive agency from obligating or expending “loan or grant funds to procure or obtain…equipment, service, or systems” “that use[] covered telecommunications equipment or services as a substantial or essential component of any system, or as critical technology as part of any system.” This particular provision applies to Huawei Technologies Company, ZTE Corporation, Hytera Communications Corporation, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Company, and Dahua Technology Company, all manufacturers based in China. The law takes effect in August 2020, two years after it was passed. The Commission seeks comment on the law, as well as the law’s impact on the FCC’s Supply Chain Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. Comments are due on or before Friday, November 16, 2018 and reply comments are due on or before Friday, December 7, 2018.

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