“We need to take a closer look at undersea data cables that have locations in hostile countries,” said Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Geoffrey Starks.
He added: This includes the four existing submarine cables connecting the United States with China, most of which are partially owned by Chinese state-owned companies.
The United States has repeatedly expressed concerns about China’s role in handling network traffic and the potential for espionage.
About 300 undersea cables form the backbone of the Internet, and carry 99 percent of the world’s data traffic.
“The FCC must ensure that hostile states and other hostile actors cannot tamper with, block or intercept communications,” Starks said.
In April, the Federal Communications Commission approved Google’s request to use part of the undersea communications cable between the United States and Asia, but not to Hong Kong, after US agencies raised national security concerns.
Google has agreed to operate part of the 8,000-mile Pacific Light cable system between the United States and Taiwan.
Google and Facebook helped pay for creating the completed link, but US organizers banned its use.
In August the companies abandoned the proposal to use the Hong Kong segment.
A Facebook affiliate has requested FCC approval to use part of the cable connecting the Philippines and the United States.
On September 10, Starks noted, Facebook, Amazon and China Mobile withdrew the request to connect San Francisco and Hong Kong as part of the Gulf-to-Gulf Express Cable System.
The companies told the FCC they would work to secure a license for a reconfigured system acceptable to the Trump administration.
In April, the Federal Communications Commission rejected China Mobile’s request to operate in the United States.
“The concerns are not just about the location of the cable landings, but of who owns and operates them,” Starks said.
The Federal Communications Commission said in April that it may suspend US operations of three state-controlled Chinese telecom companies – China Telecom Americas, China Unicom Americas and Pacific Networks and its wholly owned subsidiary, ComNet.