USA communications regulators have cut off government funding for equipment from two Chinese companies, citing security threats.
It's the latest action by the USA government against Chinese tech and telecom companies.
US lawmakers and intelligence officials have long fretted over Huawei's close relationship with the Chinese government and the attendant risks of high-tech espionage. In the House and Senate earlier this year, members introduced bipartisan legislation that would bar Huawei equipment from US 5G wireless networks, and that would block USA companies from doing business with Huawei.
As for replacing existing equipment, the FCC is asking for comment on how to help rural telecoms financially.
"I'm especially proud of my bipartisan legislation that will ensure small and rural telecommunications companies have the support they need to root out suspect equipment from their networks made by companies like Huawei and Z.T.E.", Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) said in a statement Wednesday following his panel's vote.
"National schools, hospitals and libraries will feel the effects", stated Huawei, including that the FCC determination would result in larger costs.
"Today, we not only ensure that the federal funds in the USF are not spent on equipment or services from these suppliers, but we also propose a process to remove such equipment already deployed in USF-funded networks", he said.
The FCC's action today would keep Huawei and ZTE products out of US telecom networks that are supported by the USF's $8.5 billion of annual support funding.
Huawei is accused of stealing US intellectual property.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai pointed out the latest decision is based on national security concerns.
In a statement, Huawei said that Washington unnecessarily undermined its own interests "based on selective information, insinuations, and false assumptions".
Huawei also said that "these unwarranted actions will have profound negative effects on connectivity for Americans in rural and underserved areas across the United States".
The commission on November 22 voted to adopt a new rule that bans the use of its Universal Service Fund (USF) to buy Huawei and ZTE telecommunications gear, particularly wireless 5G equipment.
Both Huawei and ZTE have been having a tough time operating in the United States.
"Both companies [Huawei and ZTE] have close ties to China's communist government and military apparatus", Pai said before the vote.
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