Huawei, ZTE, and three more Chinese technology firms have lost all hope of obtaining network equipment licenses from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) after President Joe Biden signed the Secure Equipment Act into law.
The new legislation prohibits the FCC from accepting or reviewing applications for network equipment from companies that pose a national security risk. Its purpose is to ensure that network equipment from those companies is not used in the US telecommunications network.
Last year, the FCC designated Huawei and ZTE as national security threats, a sign of increased trade tensions between the United States and China. It did not, however, prohibit those companies from applying for FCC licenses as long as no federal funds were used.
The new law closes that loophole. According to Reuters, FCC commissioner Brendon Carr stated that the regulatory body has approved over 3,000 applications from Huawei since 2018. The Secure Equipment Act makes it illegal to use Huawei and ZTE equipment in the country’s communications networks, which power many of the best Android phones.
Following the House’s approval earlier in October, the law was unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate late last month. The ban also affects Hytera Communications Corp., Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology, and Dahua Technology.
Earlier this year, the FCC also launched a $1.6 billion program to assist telecom companies in replacing Huawei and ZTE equipment in their networks. The latest move by the U.S. government represents an intensified effort to remove Chinese technology from the country’s telecommunications infrastructure.