TIA Supports FCC Action to Protect USF Networks

Replies to Comments Regarding Ban on Certain Suppliers from USF Eligibility  

Arlington, VA (July 2, 2018) –– The FCC should take targeted steps to protect networks supported by the Universal Service Fund (USF) from specific suppliers deemed to pose a threat to national security, said the Telecommunications Industry Association, the largest trade association for the manufacturers and suppliers of information and communications technology products and services. In reply comments filed today, TIA reaffirmed support for the FCC’s proposal to prohibit USF dollars from purchasing products from specific suppliers, advocating a narrowly targeted rule that relies on the expertise of national security agencies.

“Overwhelmingly, stakeholders agree with the FCC that protecting U.S. telecommunications networks is critical. A narrowly-tailored approach, based on identified national security threats, will provide consumers and businesses with greater confidence in the security of their networks,” said Cinnamon Rogers, Senior Vice President for Government Affairs at TIA.

“The Commission is on the right path by focusing on the distinct issue posed by specific suppliers of concern,” said Rogers. “By relying on determinations made by national security agencies, a narrowly-tailored rule will complement a whole-of-government approach – at once, addressing the immediate threat at hand and paving the way for a coordinated interagency effort going forward. TIA agrees with other commenters that any Commission action here requires the unique expertise and insight into pertinent classified information afforded by national security agencies in the U.S. government.”

“The record shows that the benefits of a narrowly-tailored rule would far outweigh the costs. Adopting such a rule would impact a small number of USF recipients, all of whom would continue to have access to a robustly competitive equipment marketplace. TIA recognizes some companies would incur costs from the adoption of this rule and therefore endorses targeted steps by the Commission to provide relief.”

“The Commission has clear legal authority to enact a narrowly-tailored rule aimed at specific suppliers deemed to pose a threat to national security,” said Rogers. “Such a rule would be in line with the Commission’s statutory mandates and squarely within established USF principles.”


Ashley Simmons, 202-341-9508, asimmons@tiaonline.org

About TIA

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) represents a global community of more than 250-member companies including manufacturers and suppliers, network operators, software developers, distributors and integrators of communications technologies. TIA drives advancement in global connectivity and innovation through its leadership in U.S. and international advocacy, technology programs and standards development, quality assurance and business performance solutions. TIA is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). For more information, visit TIAonline.org.