New Bill Would Ban Suspect Tech from All U.S. Nets

Capitol Hill
(Image credit: Gary Arlen)

A bipartisan bill has been introduced that would prevent the use of private, as well as public, funds to purchase suspect tech for U.S. networks.

The FCC, under the direction of Congress, published a list of tech suppliers deemed national security threats and prohibited the use of federal funds for telecom networks using that tech--the highest profile companies on that list were Huawei and ZTE.

Now a bill has been introduced by Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.) and House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) that would extend that ban.

The bill, the Secure Equipment Act of 2021, would prohibit the FCC from reviewing or providing licenses for new equipment from companies on that FCC list of national security threats.

Acting FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel said she backed the effort.

"The introduction of the Secure Equipment Act of 2021 is welcome news," she said in a statement included in the announcement of the bill. "This legislation will help protect our national security by ensuring that untrustworthy communications equipment is not authorized for use within our borders. And we're not wasting time--last month, I shared a plan with my colleagues to update the Federal Communications Commission's equipment authorization procedures consistent with this effort. I thank Congresswoman Eshoo and Congressman Scalise for their work--having this policy written into the law will send a strong, bipartisan signal that the United States is committed to developing a market for secure 5G alternatives."
A similar bipartisan bill has been introduced in the Senate by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.).

John Eggerton

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.