The trade war between China and the US has focused largely on escalating tariffs. However, in many rural communities, the focus has shifted to the security of networks for which the Chinese giants Huawei and ZTE have long provided equipment. As the 5G future approaches, the US is pushing small airlines to tear out and replace all parts of their infrastructure, regardless of cost.
Federal Communications Commission Proposed Dramatic Revision at End of October Prerequisite for accessing $ 8.5 billion in Universal Service Fund FCC subsidies is the removal of all Huawei and ZTE devices. The Commission unanimously agreed to the initiative on 22 November, triggering a wave of protests from the small mobile companies that are now having to figure out how to do this ̵
All major US mobile operators, including AT & T, Verizon, and T-Mobile, shut out Chinese equipment manufacturers years ago to avoid this potential sticking point. In recent years, small rural carriers, who often struggle to remain profitable, bought Huawei and ZTE technology because they undercut their competitors. The FCC decision puts these operators to the test for an exchange process that could cost industry-wide $ 1 billion or more.
To reduce this burden, the FCC announced a $ 9 billion investment in rural 5G networks last Wednesday. Later that night, Huawei sued the authorities for the ban.
"It's a complicated situation," says Syed Rafiul Hussain, a 5G and mobile security researcher at Purdue University in Indiana. "Mobile operators in the countryside may be reluctant to spend money on new equipment, testing, and switching to mobile sites, but it costs money to protect users' security and privacy."
Many rural mobile operators argue that they have never had cybersecurity issues with Huawei or ZTE products. Similarly, Huawei's complaint emphasizes that the FCC and other branches of the US government have not provided any concrete evidence of a credible threat.
"Protecting the security and privacy of users is costly."
Syed Rafiul Hussain
We believe that this is a predetermined judgment of the FCC that they are not really interested in facts, "said Michael Carvin, Partner at Jones Day, based in Washington, DC Law firm representing Huawei. "You are a communications agency, not a national security agency. The question the FCC should ask is: Do you offer quality service at an affordable, fair price? "Huawei is selected for unfair treatment."
ZTE did not return a request from WIRED for comment.
The Department of Justice, Congress, and numerous non-governmental tech industry and national security groups have stressed but are worried about the potential of future threats and not about the fact that airlines already have problems with it.
"Under Chinese law, all companies under their jurisdiction must secretly comply with the demands of Chinese intelligence agencies." Ajit Pai, chairman of the FCC, announced in October the proposal to limit funding for carriers using Huawei or ZTE equipment. "While the United States is upgrading its networks to the next generation of wireless technologies – 5G – we can not ignore the risk that the Chinese government is trying to exploit network vulnerabilities to espionage, malware and viruses, and our critical systems in other ways to endanger." Communication networks.
While Huawei has a clear economic interest in maintaining its business in the US, rural airlines are concerned only about the potential cost of replacing existing equipment while expanding 5G Removal of Huawei and ZTE devices has been colloquially referred to as "ripping and replacing." This is not so easy: the logistics of the process are closer to "replace and remove."
The first carriers must take stock of what to replace Chinese technology – no small thing in complicated, remote networks – and new non-Chinese devices are being acquired by manufacturers such as Ericsson and Nokia, who are building the new components in parallel with their existing infrastructure and using virtualized test environments to detect interoperability issues and so many transient issues leme as possible to fix. "There may be initial unforeseen problems in terms of performance and quality of service," says Hussain. Finally, the forwarders bring the new devices online in the live network and carefully deploy the legacy technologies to minimize downtime or downtime.