FCC Votes Against Broadband Subsidies for Users of Suspect Tech

Broadband subsidy money is one of the methods to encourage firms to research new technology. However, the FCC has raised concerns about whether the technology that companies institute is beneficial, or can be considered suspicious. Now, a year after initial concerns were raised about the issue, FCC officials have voted to cut off subsidies for companies that have demonstrated a penchant for testing and using so-called “suspect tech.”

The item presented in the FCC’s monthly meeting on Friday, November 22nd, proposed the prohibiting of suspect tech and warned of future proposed rulemaking as the Commission sees fit. Additionally, calls went out for consultation about how the FCC could determine the level to which suspect tech has intimated itself into the country’s networks, and how to deal with the replacement of elements that contain suspect tech in them.

Suspect Tech Defined

The FCC defined suspect tech as any technology provided by local or foreign companies that may negatively impact the national security of the country. The definition is important, since many suspect tech elements may come from Huawei and ZTE, both major telecommunications manufacturers that provide hardware and software for network providers across the country. Both of these companies are known to have positive relations with the Chinese government – a ruling body that is currently engaged in a trade war with the US.

Appeal Process Also In the Works

While the FCC is concerned about ensuring that the country’s national security remains intact, there is a more significant concern to ensure innocents are not unnecessarily punished. Provisions have been made for companies that may think they have been warned in error. The FCC’s current estimates for the cost of replacing core technology with suspicious elements in it is around $2 billion. Still, the actual price to the country may be far more based on what falls under the Commission’s definition.