FCC “Revokes” US Authorization Of Chinese Telecom Company

On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) revoked the authorization issued in 2002 to China Unicom Americas permitting the company to operate in the US.

The FCC voted 4-0 to terminate, citing concerns that the Chinese telecommunications company created problems for US national security. The revocation means the company must cease providing local, interstate, and international telecommunication services in the US within 60 days.

China Unicom stated its legal counsel that described the FCC vote as “without any justifiable grounds.” The statement claims that the Chinese company was denied due process and said it would “proactively protect” its interests.

FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel said that the American national security landscape has “shifted” since China Unicom was originally issued authorization to operate in the US and said that “mounting evidence” has led to growing concerns of real threats to our country’s communications systems.

The commission stated that China Unicom Americas is under the control of the Chinese Communist Party government. The company has provided IP transit, cloud, and mobile virtual network services inside the US.

Rosenworcel also described the list published by the FCC last year that set out communications systems and services that present unacceptable risks to American national security. She said that she updated that list earlier this month by corresponding with the FBI, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and other federal agencies.

The FCC began the process of revocation last March. The commission said that China Unicom’s responses to formal concerns about its activities were “incomplete, misleading, and incorrect.”

FCC member Geoffrey Starks said that the revocation does not impact China Unicom’s US operations in offering data center services. He said he believes Congress should provide the FCC with greater authority to manage security issues related to data centers.