Displaying items by tag: FCC
US telcos need $1.8 billion to replace Huawei, ZTE equipment
US telecommunications networks, which have relied on network equipment from China’s Huawei and ZTE, have told the government that it would cost $1.837 billion to replace those switches and routers, the Federal Communications Commission said.
In June, the FCC formally designated Huawei and ZTE as threats to US national security, a declaration that bars US firms from accessing an $8.3 billion government fund to purchase equipment from the companies.
FCC commissioners said the report shows the need for Congress to approve funding to replace that equipment. Congress has authorized reimbursements but has not approved the money.
The FCC said it believes the carriers would be eligible for reimbursements of about $1.62 billion.
“By identifying the presence of insecure equipment and services in our networks, we can now work to ensure that these networks — especially those of small and rural carriers — rely on infrastructure from trusted vendors,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said, urging Congress “to appropriate funding to reimburse carriers for replacing any equipment or services determined to be a national security threat so that we can protect our networks.”
SES selects SpaceX, ULA to launch C-band satellites
SES has selected SpaceX and United Launch Alliance (ULA) to launch satellites into orbit as part of the company’s C-band clearing plan, as well as their contribution to facilitate 5G across America.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will launch two C-band satellites built by Northrop Grumman to rapidly launch a contingency satellite from Cape Canaveral, Florida in 2022 allowing SES to meet the FCC’s time-critical objective to roll out 5G services across the United States.
ULA’s Atlas V rocket will be launched in the same year.
These satellites will enable SES to clear 280MHz of mid-band spectrum for 5G use while seamlessly migrating SES’s existing C-band customers and ensuring the continued delivery of digital television to nearly 120 million American TV homes and other critical data services.
“Clearing mid-band spectrum and protecting our broadcast customers to ensure business continuity is a significant undertaking and we absolutely need to be working with the right partners,” said Steve Collar, CEO at SES.
Speaking on the extended partnership with SpaceX, Collar said: “We have a deep and trusted relationship with SpaceX having been the first to launch a commercial satellite with them and subsequently the first commercial company to adopt the flight-proven booster and we could not be more confident in their ability to deliver on this time-critical mission.”
The Luxembourg-based operator also has a long-standing alliance with ULA and is pleased to task the company with meeting the FCC’s targets. “We are thrilled to be working with ULA again and partnering to meet the FCC’s ambitious timeline for the accelerated clearing of C-band spectrum.”
SpaceX gets FCC license for one million satellite terminals
After months of consideration, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has finally granted SpaceX a license for up to a million terminals that would work on the ground with the company’s Starlink satellite constellation to deliver global broadband internet service.
The license, which runs until March 2035, permits Starlink to install the 48cm diameter dishes anywhere in the continental US, plus Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Isles.
Unlike normal licenses, which specify very precise locations, the FCC has given SpaceX permission for “blanket earth stations”.
Word of the 15-year license’s approval came in a public notice issued by the FCC. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has described the plug-and-point terminals, which are made in California, as looking like a “thin, flat, round UFO on a stick.”
The satellites, orbiting between 328km and 580km above the Earth’s surface, making the round-trip ground-satellite-ground latency around 30ms, will provide global coverage – meaning SpaceX will need to apply for licenses everywhere it plans to operate.
The company says: “Starlink is targeting service in the Northern US and Canada in 2020, rapidly expanding to near global coverage of the populated world by 2021.”
There are already 360 Starlink satellites in orbit, though it is unclear how many of that number have failed to work correctly. SpaceX is making them at a reported rate of six a day.
US sets deadline for Huawei and ZTE designation
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said it will accept public comments until Feb. 3 on its determination that China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and ZTE Corp pose national security threats.
In a document published by the FCC, it reports that interested parties can submit responses on Huawei and ZTE’s designation, which aims to prevent money from the US Universal Service Fund being used to purchase kit from companies deemed a national security risk.
“The FCC adopts a rule that prospectively prohibits the use of Universal Service Fund funds to purchase or obtain any equipment or services produced or provided by a covered company posing a national security threat to the integrity of communications networks or the communications supply chain.”
As the Commission stated in the Protecting Against National Security Threats Notice, the promotion of national security is consistent with the public interest, and USF funds should be used to deploy infrastructure and provide services that do not undermine national security.
In November, the FCC voted unanimously to bar U.S. rural wireless providers from availing of an $8.5 billion government fund to purchase Huawei or ZTE telecommunications equipment.
Last month, Huawei filed a petition with the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court in New Orleans challenging the FCC decision. The FCC will review public comments before finalizing the designations on Feb. 3.
Huawei urges court to reverse FCC order on government subsidy program
China condemns US for ‘economic bullying’ of Huawei & ZTE
China blasted as "economic bullying" a US proposal to block service providers buying from Chinese tech companies Huawei and ZTE. The two Chinese vendors have been accused of posing a threat to national security because of their ties to the Beijing government.
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said that the proposed rules were part of an initiative to "safeguard the nation's communications networks".
FCC chairman Ajit Pai also said: “We cannot ignore the risk that the Chinese government will seek to exploit network vulnerabilities in order to engage in espionage, insert malware and viruses, and otherwise compromise our critical communications networks”.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang slammed the US proposal as an attempt to "oppress certain Chinese businesses with groundless accusations".
"The United States' economic bullying goes against the market principles which the US has always trumpeted," he said.
The proposal, to be voted on November 19, marks the latest effort by Washington to further damage Huawei’s global reputation. Huawei says that US has provided no proof of any security risks posed by the company.
"In 30 years of business, Huawei has never had a major security-related incident in the 170 countries where we operate," the statement said.
"Banning specific vendors based on country origin will do nothing to protect America's telecommunications networks."
In May, Washington said it would blacklist Huawei from the US market and from buying crucial US components, though it has twice extended the company 90-day reprieves, the latest coming in August.
The United States has expressed concern that Huawei equipment could contain security loopholes that allow China to spy on global communications traffic, and has pressured US allies to block the use of Huawei equipment.
Merger deal between US operators receives support from FCC
The $26 billion merger deal between US telecommunication operators T-Mobile US and Sprint has received the backing of a key official at the US communications regulator FCC (Federal Communications Commission).
FCC calls for China Mobile to be blocked from US market
US aggression towards Chinese telecommunication entities shows no signs of abating following the latest calls from the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission to block China Mobile from operating in the United States.
China Mobile is the world’s largest mobile operator and has nearly 930 million customers. It has been desperately trying to penetrate the US market for the last eight years. It first filed an application for permission to operate in the United States back in 2011, but thus far it has been unsuccessful in its attempts to get a license to trade.
The FCC has five members which are comprised of both Democrats and Republicans and their due to vote on an order that if approved would deny China Mobile’s request to operate. The offensive campaign against China’s ICT firms that has seen Huawei and ZTE subjected to intense scrutiny has actually drawn bipartisan support in the House of Representatives and appears to be one issue that both parties universally agree on.
FCC chairman Ajit Paj released a statement on the China Mobile application and again referenced the importance of domestic security as the main reason to reject the Chinese operators’ efforts to gain access to the US market.
The FCC chairman said, “Safeguarding our communications networks is critical to our national security. Evidence, including that submitted by other federal agencies made it clear that China Mobile's application to provide telecommunications services in our country raises substantial and serious national security and law enforcement risks."
China Mobile’s ambitions to penetrate the US market now appear dead and the water. The US has continued its smear campaign against Huawei and ZTE and has pressured allies in banning them from participating in their 5G buildout.
Australia and New Zealand have prohibited Huawei from their 5G networks, but the US has met resistance in Europe, with Germany and Belgium both saying they’ve found no evidence of any threats from Huawei, whilst Vodafone claimed that barring Huawei from 5G in Europe would significantly delay the commercialization of the next-generation networks on the European continent.
FCC approves CenturyLink’s $30bn acquisition of Level 3
US communications provider CenturyLink has completed its acquisition of US telecommunications and Internet service provider Level 3 Communications for an estimated $30 billion. The combination of CenturyLink and Level 3 creates a global network services company capable of providing customers a wide range of technology solutions over a secure fibre-rich network.
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the merger on November 30. CenturyLink's network now connects more than 350 metropolitan areas with more than 100,000 fibre-enabled, on-net buildings, including 10,000 buildings in EMEA and Latin America. The combined company will compete against US telecom heavyweights AT&T and Verizon.
The combined company, with estimated pro forma revenue of $24 billion for the twelve months ended June 30, 2017 (excluding revenue related to CenturyLink's May 1, 2017, colocation business sale and including estimated intercompany eliminations and purchase accounting adjustments), anticipates that approximately 75 percent of its core revenue will come from business customers and nearly two-thirds of its core revenue will come from strategic services.
"CenturyLink is now poised to offer an expanded, robust portfolio of communications solutions focused on our customers' networking and IT services needs," said Glen F. Post III, CenturyLink's chief executive officer. "Our customers, from individual consumers to global enterprises, will benefit from our expanded, innovative network solutions, our complementary managed services and our highly talented workforce."
The acquisition is more like a merger, with CenturyLink shareholders getting 51 percent ownership and Level 3 stockholders 49 percent. CenturyLink remains headquartered in Monroe, La., with a key operational presence in Colorado and the Denver metropolitan area.
Following the acquisition, CenturyLink is now better positioned to offer a broader, innovative product portfolio of network solutions and advanced IT services designed to meet complex technology and threat protection needs.
The acquisition allows CenturyLink to deliver these solutions and services to enterprise, government, wholesale and consumer customers over a large-scale, fiber-rich global network. CenturyLink will also continue to invest in the reach and speeds of its broadband infrastructure for small businesses and consumers.
"Our goal is to be the world's best networking provider and we have the ability to achieve this as one company," said former Level 3 CEO Jeff Storey, now CenturyLink's president and chief operating officer. "CenturyLink is focused on providing a differentiated experience for our customers, while driving profitable growth and increasing free cash flow per share. Our scale and experience will enable us to deliver on behalf of our customers, employees and our shareholders."
US regulator settles $17 million dispute with Verizon
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced a settlement with Verizon for possible violations of the FCC’s competitive bidding rules for the E-rate program, which provides discounts to assist most schools and libraries in the United States to obtain affordable internet access.
Verizon agreed to pay $17.68 million to resolve parallel investigations by the FCC and U.S. Department of Justice, $17.325 million of which will be repaid to the Universal Service Fund (USF). Verizon has further agreed to withdraw any rights it may have to hundreds of millions of dollars in requested and undisbursed E-rate support.
This settlement follows an investigation into Verizon’s involvement with New York City schools’ use of the E-rate program. The Commission’s Enforcement Bureau conducted its investigation in parallel with the US Department of Justice Civil Fraud Section and US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
In related actions, former New York City Department of Education consultant Willard “Ross” Lanham was convicted by a federal jury sitting in the Southern District of New York. In December 2015, the Commission settled a related investigation with the New York City Department of Education.
The Schools and Libraries Universal Service Program, known as E-rate, subsidizes telecommunications, Internet access, and Wi-Fi services for schools and libraries. E-rate is funded by the Universal Service Fund under rules established by the FCC.
The program is designed to bring modern broadband connectivity to students, teachers and library patrons. Program applicants must seek competitive bids from prospective service providers and must treat the price-eligible products and services as the primary factor when selecting amongst competing service providers.
To resolve the FCC and Justice Department investigations, Verizon will pay $17.325 million to the Universal Service Fund through the FCC settlement and $354,634 to the US Treasury through the Justice Department settlement.
In addition, Verizon will surrender any claims against the Universal Service Fund it may have to approximately $7,303,668 in undisbursed E-rate support for products and services provided to the New York City Department of Education between Funding Years 2002 and 2013.
Furthermore, Verizon will surrender any appeal rights before the Universal Service Administrative Company and the FCC in connection with more than $100 million in E-rate support for which the New York City Department of Education has withdrawn requests for support through its 2015 settlement with the FCC. As part of the FCC’s settlement, Verizon will also operate under a compliance plan for three years.
While the Commission adopted the consent decree in May 2017, it has not been released until now in order to allow for a global settlement which includes the US Department of Justice. The Department of Justice settlement with Verizon was submitted to the Court for approval in the Southern District of New York on October 17.