FCC studying how much Huawei, ZTE equipment is used in US telecom networks

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is studying how much equipment made by Chinese tech giants Huawei and ZTE are used by U.S. telecom networks.

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The commission on Wednesday began collecting information from a number of telecom companies regarding the use of equipment from the two Chinese government-supported companies, according to a press release.

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"Huawei and ZTE have been initially designated as threats to national security," FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement. "Given that those designations may become final this spring, we are moving forward quickly to identify where equipment and services from these suppliers are embedded in our communications networks and, where they do have a foothold, to be in a position to help remove them."

"Today, we’ve begun to collect the data we will need to protect our networks and protect the American people," he added.

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The FCC banned companies that use Huawei and ZTE technology from receiving U.S. government subsidies in November. The FCC recommended that telecom companies using this equipment transition to U.S.-approved products to keep their federal subsidies and proposed a reimbursement program to rural network providers to offset additional costs.

"If the Chinese government is willing to use its leverage over things like professional basketball and Taiwanese flag emojis, imagine what could happen if we allowed Chinese company equipment into our 5G networks," Pai said at the time.

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