The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will be voting soon on two proposals that would prevent U.S. companies from working with Huawei and ZTE.
In a statement from the FCC, the first proposal would not allow companies to receive money from the FCC’s annual $8.5 billion USD ($11.09 billion CAD) Universal Service Fund to purchase equipment and services from Huawei or ZTE. This fund, which was established in 1997, helps carriers in the U.S. subsidize services for low-income households.
The second proposal would create a process that would remove and replace equipment from Huawei and ZTE that certain rural wireless carriers have. The process would also look into how much equipment carriers in the U.S. actually have right now and would provide financial assistance to help carriers transition to using alternative equipment.
These two proposals will be voted on November 19th.
“When it comes to 5G and America’s security, we can’t afford to take a risk and hope for the best,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement, which was reported by Android Authority. “As the United States upgrades its networks to the next generation of wireless technologies — 5G — we cannot ignore the risk that the Chinese government will seek to exploit network vulnerabilities in order to engage in espionage, insert malware and viruses, and otherwise compromise our critical communication networks.”
The U.S. has accused Huawei of using equipment with backdoors that enable the company to spy on its citizens. It has also accused the company of breaking trade regulations by working with Iran and has charged the company of bank and wire fraud. These accusations have not been proven in court and Huawei has denied them.