PacNet/ComNet and China Unicom Gear Declared Threat to National Security

The FCC added equipment and services from two entities – Pacific Network Corp. and its wholly-owned subsidiary ComNet (USA) LLC, and China Unicom (Americas) Operations Limited – to its list of communications equipment and services that have been deemed a threat to national security. The move is meant to strengthen and protect the integrity of American communications networks.

The action means there are now 10 companies on the FCC’s Covered List. The others are: Huawei Technologies Company, ZTE Corporation, Hytera Communications Corporation, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Company, Dahua Technology Company, AO Kaspersky Lab, China Mobile International USA Inc., and China Telecom (Americas) Corp.  

“Earlier this year the FCC revoked China Unicom America’s and PacNet/ComNet’s authorities to provide service in the United States because of the national security risks they posed to communications in the United States,” said Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “Now, working with our national security partners, we are taking additional action to close the door to these companies by adding them to the FCC’s Covered List.”  

Tuesday’s actions implement recommendations in letters filed by NTIA on behalf of Executive Branch interagency bodies. These letters explain how PacNet/ComNet and China Unicom are subject to the exploitation, influence and control of the Chinese government, and the national security risks associated with such exploitation, influence, and control. 

The Department of Justice, in coordination with the Department of Defense, confirms that the Executive Branch’s views these companies pose “an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States or the security and safety of United States persons” under section 2 of the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019. That’s why the FCC added the newest companies and their services to the Covered List. 

The FCC published the initial list in March 2021. It will continue to update the list as other communications equipment and services meet the criteria under the law.

By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief

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