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FCC gets pushback on supply chain security proposal

Telecommunications industry trade groups and top vendors are telling the Federal Communications Commission to proceed cautiously in a rulemaking effort that could put certain foreign manufactured telecom equipment off-limits for U.S. networks on national security grounds.

In March, the FCC Chairman Ajit Pai proposed rules that would curb billions in federal subsidies from the commission’s $8.5 billion Universal Service Fund from going to U.S. telecommunications providers that buy equipment from companies that “pose a national security threat” to U.S. networks.

The proposed rules are largely aimed at Chinese telecommunications equipment suppliers Huawei and ZTE, which Pai and others believe could offer a surreptitious “backdoor” into U.S. telecommunications networks.

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