FCC kicks China Telecom Americas out of US, cites Chinese government control

Illustration of the US and Chinese flags next to each other on a wall with a crack separating the two flags.

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The Federal Communications Commission today voted to block China Telecom Americas from the US market, saying that the “US subsidiary of a Chinese state-owned enterprise” is “subject to exploitation, influence, and control by the Chinese government.” The telco “is highly likely to be forced to comply with Chinese government requests without sufficient legal procedures subject to independent judicial oversight,” the FCC said.

The vote was 4-0 with both Democrats and both Republicans approving the order to revoke and terminate China Telecom’s Section 214 authority to operate in the US. The FCC said its order “directs China Telecom Americas to discontinue any domestic or international services that it provides pursuant to its Section 214 authority within sixty days following the release of the order.”

The FCC pointed to a “changed national security environment with respect to China since the commission authorized China Telecom Americas to provide telecommunications services in the United States almost two decades ago.” The company’s “ownership and control by the Chinese government raise significant national security and law enforcement risks by providing opportunities for China Telecom Americas, its parent entities, and the Chinese government to access, store, disrupt, and/or misroute US communications, which in turn allow them to engage in espionage and other harmful activities against the United States,” the FCC said.

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