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FCC votes to terminate China Telecom Americans authority to supply U.S. providers

WASHINGTON, Oct 26 (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Tuesday voted to revoke China Telecom’s (0728.HK) U.S. subsidiary’s authorization to function within the United States, citing nationwide safety considerations.

China Telecom, the biggest Chinese telecommunications firm, has had authorization to supply telecommunications providers for practically 20 years within the United States. China Telecom Americas should discontinue providers inside 60 days.

The FCC in April 2020 had warned that it would shut down the U.S. operations of three state-controlled Chinese telecommunications firms, citing nationwide safety dangers, together with China Telecom Americas in addition to China Unicom Americas (0762.HK), Pacific Networks Corp and its wholly owned subsidiary ComNet (USA) LLC.

The FCC discovered that China Telecom “is subject to exploitation, influence, and control by the Chinese government and is highly likely to be forced to comply with Chinese government requests without sufficient legal procedures subject to independent judicial oversight.”

The FCC added that “China Telecom Americas’ ownership and control by the Chinese government raise significant national security and law enforcement risks by providing opportunities” for the corporate and the Chinese authorities” to access, store, disrupt, and/or misroute U.S. communications.”

China Telecoms America didn’t instantly reply to a request remark.

In March, the FCC started efforts to revoke authorization for China Unicom Americas, Pacific Networks and its wholly-owned subsidiary ComNet to supply U.S. telecommunications providers.

In May 2019, the FCC voted unanimously to disclaim one other state-owned Chinese telecommunications firm, China Mobile (0941.HK), the suitable to supply U.S. providers, citing dangers that the Chinese authorities may use the approval to conduct espionage towards the U.S. authorities.

Reporting by David Shepardson, Editing by Franklin Paul and Mark Porter

Signage is seen at the headquarters of the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, D.C., U.S., August 29, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly