Reports: White House Implementing Chinese Telecom Tech Blocking Rule

The White House reportedly will comply with Congress' ban on tech from Chinese telecoms Huawei and ZTE in government contracts, which goes into effect next week.

That is by implementing an interim rule for making sure agencies are complying with the new law. The technology includes everything from phones, tablets and smartwatches to mobile hot spots, broadband routers, switchers and servers.

That ban was part of a Defense Department funding bill the President signed Aug. 13, 2018, so the bigger news would have been if the White House wasn't going to implement it. But given that the Administration had signaled it might use Huawei's status as a bargaining chip in trade talks--while at other times acknowledging Chinese telecoms were problematic players in U.S. 5G networks, it was news nonetheless.

Related: Bipartisan Bill Attempts to Protect Supply Chain

The FCC has proposed preventing broadband subsidy money to be used by any carrier using technology deemed to a threat to national security. FCC chair Ajit Pai has labeled Huawei a national security threat, as has most of the national security community.

A bipartisan bill was introduced back in May that would create a $700 million fund to help telecoms remove Huawei equipment from their networks, push the FCC to finalize its proposal to ban telecoms using suspect tech from Universal Service Fund broadband subsidies, and make it U.S. policy not to use Huawei, ZTE or their affiliates in 5G networks.

Huawei president Ren Zhengfei has said his company does not spy or provide technological back doors to its products.

The company also this week joined the Paris Call, a group of companies publicly pledging to "to strengthen the security of digital products and digital systems."

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.