The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) voted today to approve an order that imposes limitations on the use of funding from the FCC’s Universal Service Fund (“USF”) to purchase products and services from companies deemed a threat to national security. It also initially designates Huawei as such a company based on selective information, innuendo, and mistaken assumptions. These unwarranted actions will have profound negative effects on connectivity for Americans in rural and underserved areas across the United States.
USF funding helps make telecommunications and broadband internet services available in rural and disadvantaged communities. Many carriers rely on Huawei for its high-quality, market-leading, and cost-effective equipment and services. Without access to those solutions, these carriers will lose their ability to provide reliable and high-speed telecommunications and internet services. Rural schools, hospitals, and libraries will feel the effects. And, due to reduced competition in the market for telecommunications equipment, particularly in cutting-edge 5G networks, all Americans will pay higher prices for these critical services.
Huawei believes this order is unlawful as the FCC has singled out Huawei based on national security, but it provides no evidence that Huawei poses a security risk. Instead, the FCC simply assumes, based on a mistaken view of Chinese law, that Huawei might come under Chinese government control.
Huawei is an international leader in developing and adopting mechanisms to improve cybersecurity to protect the reliability of its equipment and the privacy of consumers. And Huawei has remained open to engaging with the U.S. government to verify productive solutions to safeguard U.S. telecommunications systems. Huawei would never breach its customers’ trust.
Huawei urges the FCC and Chairman Ajit Pai to refrain from finalizing its inappropriate designation of Huawei and to rethink its profoundly mistaken order. The FCC’s process for labeling Huawei a security threat violates bedrock principles of due process and is based on nothing more than irrational speculation and innuendo. Yet this course of action is not inevitable. The FCC is aware of best practices that could actually improve U.S. network security without unlawfully and irrationally targeting Huawei. Huawei would welcome the opportunity to work with the FCC and other U.S. government authorities to ensure that these best practices are incorporated fully in the U.S. telecommunications system to the ultimate benefit of U.S. commerce and consumers.