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Huawei Cites NCTA, USTelecom, CTIA in Opposing FCC Rip & Replace

Huawei cites NCTA-The Internet & Television Association, USTelecom and CTIA in comments to the FCC this week, telling the commission to abandon its proposal to require universal service fund participants to rip and replace suspect network tech, which the FCC has said includes Chinese network tech suppliers Huawei and ZTE. 

Huawei pointed out that USTelecom told the FCC in its comments that Congress did not intent the FCC to regulate supply chains or a carriers purchasing decisions. It also noted that NCTA had told the FCC that given that there were "numerous other federal efforts" to deal with supply chain risks, "contradictory regulations could have serious unintended consequences.” 

Related: NCTA Cites Suspect Tech Ban's Unintended Consequences 

As to the FCC deciding what tech poses a national security threat, Huawei cited CTIA-The Wireless Association. “[A]s a regulatory agency, the [Commission] may not have the same experience, expertise, or resources as other agencies to designate national security threats," CTIA said.

Related: Huawei says FCC Band Could Be Unconstitutional 

Huawei also said that those commenters had confirmed a simple reality, "that the Commission’s proposed rule is overbroad, imposes extreme burdens, and lacks any reasonable cost-benefit justification." 

Huawei told the FCC that forcing carriers to remove and replace still-operational equipment was legally unsound and factually unjustified. It called the FCC's response to concerns about trusted suppliers was an " irrational and highly inefficient way to address purported security risks." 

The FCC voted to disallow the use of any Universal Service Fund broadband buildout funds to carriers using suspect tech. 

Last November, the FCC voted unanimously to prevent carriers from getting broadband subsidy money if they have suspect tech in the networks they are using that money to build. It also proposed requiring USF-funded carriers to remove and replace existing suspect tech.  

Congress has independently passed legislation that would mandate and fund such rip and replace. 

The FCC said by suspect tech it means equipment, or services, that pose a national security threat to networks or the equipment supply chain. While that will apply to any suspect tech, the FCC also made an initial determination--subject to comment and challenge--that Huawei and ZTE fit the description. Huawei has challenged the designation and is trying to make its case.  

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.