Verizon, CenturyLink, Windstream still using Huawei, ZTE equipment
Verizon, CenturyLink, Cincinnati Bell, América Móvil and Windstream are among the companies that told the FCC they still have equipment from Huawei or ZTE in their networks.
As part of its “rip and replace” program, the FCC has been collecting information from US telecom companies that have equipment from Chinese vendors Huawei or ZTE in their networks. Specifically, under its “2019 Supply Chain Order,” the agency requested information from Eligible Telecommunications Carriers (ETCs) about the topic; ETCs are companies deemed eligible to receive money from FCC programs like Lifeline, which subsidizes telecom services for low-income Americans. The FCC requested information about “the presence or use of Huawei or ZTE equipment and/or services in their networks, or in the networks of their affiliates or subsidiaries.”
The FCC’s goal is to determine how many US companies use eequipment from Huawei or ZTE – the equipment has been deemed a threat to national security – and how much it might cost to replace that gear with equipment from “trusted” suppliers.
On Friday, the FCC published a list of companies that reported they have existing Huawei or ZTE equipment and services. The full list is at the end of this article. The list includes 51 companies ranging from tiny providers that have previously admitted to still using equipment from Huawei or ZTE – such as Rise Broadband, Viaero, Union Wireless, United TelCom, SI Wireless, Viaero and James Valley Telecommunications – as well as larger telecom companies including Verizon and CenturyLink.
Three of the nation’s five biggest wireline phone providers (Verizon, CenturyLink and Windstream) have admitted to having equipment from Huawei or ZTE, according to Leichtman Research Group. US officials for years have warned that equipment from the Chinese suppliers can be used by Chinese spies for espionage. Huawei and ZTE have rejected those claims.
“Verizon’s networks do not include equipment from any untrusted vendors. In addition, the company is not seeking funds from the FCC to replace equipment,” a Verizon representative wrote in response to questions from Light Reading. “Verizon has a relatively small number of devices, called VoiceLink, which were made by Huawei and are used by some customers to make voice calls. There are no data services associated with these devices. Earlier this year, Verizon started replacing these units. That effort was temporarily halted by the pandemic and is now underway again. We expect to have all Voicelink devices fully retired by the end of the year.”
To read the complete article, visit Light Reading.