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The seal of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is seen in Washington on December 14, 2017. Photo: AP

Chinese telecom firms Pacific Networks, ComNet urge FCC not to block US operations

  • The FCC directed Chinese telecom firms to explain why it should not start revoking authorisations enabling their US operations
  • Pacific Networks and ComNet say in a filing that neither company has been asked by China to take any action that would jeopardise US national security interests

Pacific Networks and its wholly owned subsidiary ComNet on Monday urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) not to shut down its US operations.

In April, the FCC issued show cause orders to three state-controlled Chinese telecommunications companies, including Pacific, citing national security risks.

The FCC directed China Telecom Americas, China Unicom Americas and Pacific Networks to explain why it should not start revoking authorisations enabling their US operations.

The other two firms have not yet filed formal FCC responses.

Pacific and ComNet said in a 92-page FCC filing that “neither company has been asked by the Chinese government or the Chinese Communist Party to take any action that would ‘jeopardise the national security and law enforcement interests of the United States.’”

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The companies said they have operated in the United States for 20 years without any FCC enforcement action.

Pacific Networks resells international voice and data to US operators on a wholesale basis; ComNet provides international termination service, global SIM card service and international calling card and interexchange service, the FCC said.

The companies said they “not only operated independently from the Chinese government” but have “complied and cooperated with the United States government”.

The FCC granted approvals to the companies more than a decade ago. Since then, it said, “the national security and law enforcement risks linked to the Chinese government’s activities have grown significantly”.

Earlier, the US Justice Department called on the FCC to revoke China Telecom’s ability to operate in the United States.

In May 2019, the FCC voted unanimously to deny another state-owned Chinese telecommunications company, China Mobile, the right to provide services in the United States, citing risks that the Chinese government could use the approval to conduct espionage against the US government.