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Google Taiwan Cable STA Gets Nod Under Last 'Team Telecom' Review

Critics of the old "Team Telecom" review process--FCC commissioner Michael O'Rielly notable among them--can break out the bubbly.  

The Justice Department, on behalf of itself, and the Defense and Homeland Security Departments, said Wednesday (April 8) that they will not oppose Google's FCC application temporarily to operate a subset cable between the U.S. and Taiwan, but has conditioned its support on various security and reporting guarantees. They said that without those conditions "a direct cable connection between the United States and Hong Kong would pose an unacceptable risk to the national security and law enforcement interests of the United States." 

According to Justice, it will be the last advisory under the legacy "Team Telecom," ad hoc, government national security review. That has been replaced by a new, high-level Executive Branch review by committee of FCC license applications. The review is of foreign participation in U.S. networks and whether granting a license would be a national security threat. That new committee was established by Executive Order of the President April 4.  

Google said it was applying for the special temporary authority to meet the current international demand for traffic, a worldwide demand fueled by the current pandemic. 

If the FCC approves, Google will get a temporary license to operate a portion of the Pacific Light Cable Network system connecting the U.S. with Taiwan for six months. But that is only long as the FCC requires Google to adhere to certain obligations.  

Google (through its GU Holdings) and the agencies agreed Wednesday (April 8) on a Provisional National Security Agreement that includes notice obligations, security guarantees and reporting duties, among others. Google has committed to diversify interconnection points in Asia and deliver traffic as close to its ultimate destination "as is practicable."