The USA closes the Huawei loophole and no longer allows exceptions for ISPs
The Biden government has found another way to tighten restrictions on Huawei and other Chinese companies that the US government has identified as a national security threat. Both sides of the US political gang have followed up on the smartphone and network giant, starting with the Trump administration in 2019. The latest caveat: There will no longer be any special exceptions for carriers using Huawei devices.
The new law, known as the Secure Equipment Act of 2021, will require the FCC to “establish rules that say they will no longer review or approve regulatory applications” for “radio frequency devices that pose a national security risk”. The law applies to any company that lands on the untrustworthy list that currently includes Huawei, ZTE, Hikvision, Hytera, and Dahua Technology. The Federal Communications Commission had previously banned US companies from using network equipment from these providers. It also ordered that ISPs replace all existing equipment, and Congress set up a $ 1.9 billion equipment replacement fund, affectionately known as the “Huawei Rip & Replace” program, to make this possible. Given all of these anti-Huawei actions, the FCC’s ability to grant exemptions on a case-by-case basis has been and now that loophole has been closed.
FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr urged the passage of this law, saying in March: “Once we discover that Huawei or other devices pose an unacceptable national security risk, it makes no sense to buy the exact same equipment and use it on our communications networks as long as there are no federal funds involved. The presence of these insecure devices on our networks is the threat, not the source of the funding used to buy them. “
The only part of Huawei that is still not banned in the US is Honor, Huawei’s smartphone brand, which was spun off as a separate company after the Huawei ban. Honor is a value-driven sub-brand of Huawei, similar to the way US auto giant General Motors owns Chevy, Cadillac, GMC, and other brands that target different markets. Huawei sold Honor to a company called Shenzhen Zhixin New Information Technology Co., Ltd., which the Associated Press reports is still a state-owned company. Honor shares the same parts, suppliers, software, and leadership as Huawei, the only real difference being that it makes phones, not network devices.
Honor is now one of the fastest growing brands in China, filling the vacuum Huawei left after US sanctions restricted Huawei’s ability to sell phones. News of a possible ban on Honor came from the Washington Post in September, which said US officials were still unsure whether the company posed a security threat.