Huawei Appeals FCC Decision to Declare It a National Security Risk

NEW YORK CITY -- Huawei launched a lawsuit Wednesday night against the FCC, following the agency's order -- passed late in November -- to bar the use of its Universal Service Fund (USF) to purchase equipment from companies that the government agency claims pose a national security threat, namely Huawei and ZTE.

Huawei filed a petition for review of the Order of the Federal Communications Commission in the Fifth Circuit of the appeals court in Texas. Huawei representatives said on Wednesday night that it had chosen the Fifth Circuit because the vendor's US headquarters are in Plano, Texas.

Huawei has listed several reasons for its appeal against the FCC's order:

  • The FCC is a communications agency that doesn't normally deal with national security.
  • Nokia and Ericsson also make telecoms equipment in China, just like Huawei and ZTE. In fact, Huawei claims that about 40% of the telecoms equipment used in US networks today is built in China.
  • Huawei's small rural US customers -- the companies that had used the FCC's $8.5 billion-a-year USF subsidy fund to build out wireless services -- like the quality of the Chinese vendor's telecoms equipment, and the fact that the vendor will deal with the far smaller rural carriers, Huawei says.

    The company held a press conference in New York City to unveil the appeal, an action repeated across Europe and other parts of North America. The appeal against the FCC was formally announced on video from the company's Chinese headquarters in Shenzhen by Chief Legal Officer Song Liuping.

    "The FCC's order violates the US Constitution, and we have no choice but to seek legal remedy," Liuping said.

    "When passing this decision, the FCC did not offer Huawei due process, or verify the facts," the legal officer said. "But they very loudly and very publicly labeled our company as a national security threat."

    Huawei also showed video of several executives at small rural US carriers singing the praises of the vendor for working with them. "If any foreign government wanted to spy on us through this type of technology it wouldn't matter if this equipment is from China, the US or wherever," commented Mike Kilgore, CEO of Nemont Telephone Cooperative, on the video.

    You can watch the full press conference below:

    Lawyers linked to Huawei, however, think the vendor's attempt to battle the FCC will take time."It'll be probably take close to a year to a get a final, final comment on all of this," Mike Carvin, a partner at Jones Day, told Light Reading on Wednesday evening.

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    — Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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