Pai on Huawei Suit: FCC Got Decision Right

FCC chair Ajit Pai had no comments Thursday (Dec. 12) on Chinese telecom Huawei's legal challenge to the commission's ban on the use of Huawei tech in government subsidized networks, but he did say he was confident that the FCC was on solid legal ground. 

Related: FCC Votes to Ban Broadband Subsidies to Suspect Tech 

After over a year in the hopper, the FCC last week approved an item that prohibits carriers from getting money for broadband deployment if they are using suspect tech in those buildouts--initially identifying tech from Huawei and ZTE as suspect. By suspect, the FCC says it means equipment, or services, that pose a national security threat to networks or the equipment supply chain.  

Asked in a press conference about Huawei's argument that the FCC's decision was arbitrary and capricious, Pai said he does not comment on pending litigation, but he did want to make a point. 

"We believe we made the right decision based on the law and the facts," he said. "We want to secure our networks and, to that end, the FCC unanimously determined that we should not allow the use of Universal Service Funds for the purchase of equipment or services from untrusted vendors. On the merits, I think that was the right decision." 

Related: Kratsios Says U.S., Allies Must Confront Chinese Tech 

In filing suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit last week, Huawei said the FCC had failed to provide it with the required due process protections when it labeled Huawei a national security threat. "Huawei believes that the FCC also fails to substantiate its arbitrary findings with evidence or sound reasoning or analysis, in violation of the U.S. Constitution, the Administrative Procedure Act, and other laws," it told the court last week. 

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.