The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rejected a petition by ZTE to reconsider a designation of the vendor as a national security threat, underlining the country’s efforts to keep its communications networks safe from Chinese influence.
Following a review by its Public Safety Bureau, the FCC stated it found “no basis for reconsideration”, with denial of ZTE’s appeal furthering the regulator’s “objective of promoting safe and reliable networks”.
The decision prevents operators using the Universal Service Fund, a more than $8 billion pot, to purchase equipment and services from ZTE or its affiliates.
FCC chairman Ajit Pai stated: “With today’s order, we are taking another important step in our ongoing efforts to protect US communications networks from security risks.”
Last week, the Commission pushed back a decision on a similar petition from Huawei to 11 December.
In June, the regulator affirmed an assessment originally made in late 2019 that both vendors were security threats, preventing US operators from using government subsidies to “purchase, obtain, maintain, improve, modify or otherwise support” their equipment.
Pai said the FCC will vote next month on rules to implement the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Reimbursement programme to help operators “remove and replace untrusted equipment from their networks”.
Along with a campaign to reduce domestic reliance on Chinese equipment vendors, the US in April stepped-up pressure on allied nations to ban Huawei and ZTE equipment with the introduction of a Clean Networks initiative.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back