FCC orders Chinese telcos to cease internet services in the US

This latest directive is part of a comprehensive strategy to mitigate risks associated with Chinese telecom carriers, including their involvement in managing internet traffic through undersea cables.

Fibre cable connected to patch. Telecommunication concept.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has made a significant move to protect national security by instructing certain Chinese telecommunications companies to halt their fixed and mobile internet broadband services in the United States. This directive will impact Chinese firms like China Telecom, China Unicom, China Mobile, Pacific Networks, and its subsidiary ComNet. The FCC’s order, stemming from concerns over net neutrality and national security, mandates these companies to cease their services within 60 days from the order’s effective date.

Commissioner Geoffrey Starks expressed concerns specifically about China Telecom’s operation of 26 internet Points of Presence (POPs) across the US, offering essential services like colocation, broadband, IP transit, and data center services. The FCC underscores the importance of these POPs in connecting networks and accessing sensitive data centers, warranting increased scrutiny.

The FCC’s decision aligns with broader initiatives aimed at bolstering US cybersecurity and national interests. Since 2022, the FCC has been evaluating vulnerabilities in the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), a crucial part of the global internet routing system, citing security and integrity concerns.