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Telstra, Optus & TPG Ignore Major Security Threats Despite Two Suppliers Banned In The USA

It appears that Telstra, TPG and Optus are continuing to ignore major security threats after the US deemed two of their major suppliers a ‘national security risk’.

The US Federal Communications Commission formally designated Chinese’s Huawei Technologies Co and ZTE Corp as posing threats to U.S. national security, a declaration that bars U.S. firms from tapping an $8.3 billion government fund to purchase equipment from the companies.

Telstra CEO Andy Penn with his ZTE made 5G gear

Despite this and as the Australian Government announces the Australia will roll out an anti-ballistic missile defence shield aimed at defending Australia against potential “adversaries” such as China, Telstra continue to sell ZTE manufactured phones and both Optus and TPG install Huawei routers in hundreds of businesses.

At one stage Telstra stopped selling ZTE smartphones when executives of the Chinese Company were accused of spying and bribing executives in the USA but as soon as this issue died down the carrier gave ZTE a contract to manufacture Telstra House brand mobiles.
TPG who are offering a 400Mbs Fibre service are not telling customers that the service is installed using Huawei switches and routers.

The U.S. telecommunications regulator voted in November 5-0 to issue the declaration and proposed requiring carriers similar to Optus Telstra and Vodafone to remove and replace equipment from the two Chinese companies from existing U.S. networks.

Australia has already banned Huawei from being a supplier to 5G network builders however Telstra and Optus are still using Huawei as a supplier for their 4G networks.

“We cannot and will not allow the Chinese Communist Party to exploit network vulnerabilities and compromise our critical communications infrastructure,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement Tuesday according to Reuters.

FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks said on Tuesday that “untrustworthy equipment” remains in place in U.S. networks and said the U.S. Congress must allocate funding for replacements.

In April, the FCC said it may shut down U.S. operations of three state-controlled Chinese telecommunications companies.

The FCC required China Telecom who is working directly with Optus China Unicom Americas, Pacific Networks Corp and its wholly owned subsidiary ComNet to explain why it should not start the process of revoking authorizations enabling their U.S. operations.

Several of these Companies have offices in Australia.

The FCC granted its approvals to the firms more than a decade ago.

In May 2019, the FCC voted to deny another state-owned Chinese telecommunications company, China Mobile Ltd, the right to provide U.S. services, citing risks that the Chinese government could use the company to conduct espionage against the U.S. government.

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