CCA Opposes USF Ban on Suspect Suppliers

The Competitive Carriers Association is opposed to prohibiting U.S. carriers from purchasing technology from companies that pose a national security risk. 

That came in comments to the FCC Friday.

CCA went out of its way to say it was all for protecting networks, but it also said it was opposed to prohibiting USF support from being used to purchase equipment or services "from providers identified as posing a national security risk to communications networks or the communications supply chain."

Related: Huawei Threatens to Exit U.S. Market

FCC chairman Ajit Pai back in March proposed to ban the use of money from the FCC's Universal Service Fund for equipment or services from "companies that pose a national security threat to United States communications networks or the communications supply chain."

The proposal in part stemmed from a Dec. 20 letter from Congress expressing concerns about Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE, plus a follow-up intelligence briefing, both of which were described as impetuses to the effort to monitor the supply chain, senior FCC officials speaking on background said.

The technology includes everything from phones, tablets and smartwatches to mobile hot spots, broadband routers, switchers and servers. 

The FCC is seeking comment in three main areas: (1) how the FCC should identify companies that pose a threat, (2) how to enforce the ban, and (3) how the funds should be recovered.

Related: TIA Backs FCC Banning ZTE, Huawei From USF Funds

“The proposed rule raises serious constitutional questions and conflicts with the universal service principles that Congress established by statute. While the Commission’s goals are laudable, the proposed rule will not achieve its stated national-security objectives, but instead will cause great damage and dislocation to poor and rural areas that most need and depend upon effective communication service.”

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.