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FCC revokes U.S. authorization of China telecom Pacific Networks

National security concerns cited in action against a fourth Chinese provider

Workers set up a mobile telecom transmitter. The FCC said Pacific Networks and ComNet are indirectly and ultimately owned and controlled by the Chinese government.   © Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Wednesday voted to revoke the authorization for Chinese telecom Pacific Networks and its wholly owned subsidiary ComNet to provide U.S. telecommunications services.

The 4-0 vote to revoke the authority that had been granted in 2002 is the latest move by the American regulator to bar Chinese telecommunications carriers from the United States citing national security concerns. The FCC said Pacific Networks and ComNet are indirectly and ultimately owned and controlled by the Chinese government.

A U.S. lawyer for Pacific Networks and the Chinese Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

This is the fourth action by the FCC against a Chinese telecom company since 2019.

In March 2021, the FCC found Pacific Networks and ComNet had failed to "dispel serious concerns regarding their retention of their authority to provide telecommunications services in the United States" and began the process to revoke their U.S. authorization.

The FCC said in about 60 days it will reclaim the two International Signaling Point Codes that were assigned to ComNet in 2001 and in 2003.

In January, the FCC voted to revoke a similar authorization for China Unicom's U.S. unit to operate in the United States, citing national security concerns.

The FCC said China Unicom Americas is ultimately owned and controlled by the Chinese government and provides mobile virtual network operator services and international private leased circuit and Ethernet private line services along with IP transit, cloud and resold services in the United States.

In October, the FCC revoked the U.S. authorization for China Telecom (Americas), saying it "is subject to exploitation, influence and control by the Chinese government." The Chinese failed to win an appeal of the decision.

In 2019, the FCC rejected China Mobile's bid to provide U.S. telecommunications services, citing national security risks.

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