FCC Votes Against Broadband Subsidies for Users of Suspect Tech

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Broadband subsidy money is one of the
methods to encourage firms to research new technology. However, the FCC has
raised concerns about whether the technology that companies institute is
beneficial, or can be considered suspicious. Now, a year after initial concerns
were raised about the issue, FCC officials have voted to cut off subsidies for
companies that have demonstrated a penchant for testing and using so-called
“suspect tech.”

The item presented in the FCC’s monthly
meeting on Friday, November 22nd, proposed the prohibiting of suspect tech and
warned of future proposed rulemaking as the Commission sees fit. Additionally,
calls went out for consultation about how the FCC could determine the level to
which suspect tech has intimated itself into the country’s networks, and how to
deal with the replacement of elements that contain suspect tech in them.

Suspect Tech Defined

The FCC defined suspect tech as any
technology provided by local or foreign companies that may negatively impact
the national security of the country. The definition is important, since many
suspect tech elements may come from Huawei and ZTE, both major
telecommunications manufacturers that provide hardware and software for network
providers across the country. Both of these companies are known to have
positive relations with the Chinese government – a ruling body that is
currently engaged in a trade war with the US.

Appeal Process Also In the Works

While the FCC is concerned about ensuring
that the country’s national security remains intact, there is a more
significant concern to ensure innocents are not unnecessarily punished.
Provisions have been made for companies that may think they have been warned in
error. The FCC’s current estimates for the cost of replacing core technology
with suspicious elements in it is around $2 billion. Still, the actual price to
the country may be far more based on what falls under the Commission’s
definition.

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