On news that the United Kingdom will propose allowing Chinese telecom Huawei technology into its 5G infrastructure, Mike Rogers, chairman of 5G Action Now, said the group was deeply troubled.
Rogers is the former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
The FCC has classified Huawei tech as a national security threat, has barred it from broadband subsidies and is considering whether to extend that ban. Congress has also taken steps to cut off government funding to Huawei and other suspect tech.
"Huawei is nothing more than a well-funded arm of the People’s Republic of China and a direct extension of Beijing’s government agencies," said Rogers. "I worry that allowing Huawei into the UK’s networks could imperil the openness of our ‘special relationship’.”
Rogers said the UK's reported decision is another reason why the U.S. needs to get moving on freeing up more mid-band spectrum, like the C-Band.
"The United States needs to move swiftly to deploy 5G to ensure its national security and economic future, and needs to help our allies prevent China getting a foothold in their networks," he said. "Domestically, we must roll out 5G with a public C-band auction this year, as proposed by FCC chairman Ajit Pai. This is a critical step to defining that future on our terms, not on China's.”
Senior FCC officials have said they expected a proposed auction of that C-Band spectrum to begin before the end of the year.
Huawei has pushed back on suggested links to the Chinese government and has challenged the FCC's ban on its tech in the Universal Service Fund broadband subsidy program.
Broadcasting & Cable Newsletter
The smarter way to stay on top of broadcasting and cable industry. Sign up below
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.