Team Telecom has recommended that the Federal Communications Commission deny Pacific Light Cable Network’s (PLCN) application to establish direct undersea cable connection between the U.S. and Hong Kong citing national security risks.
Team Telecom, also known as the Committee for the Assessment of Foreign Participation in the U.S. Telecommunications Services Sector, suggested that FCC approve PLCN’s request to install subsea cable systems to connect the U.S. to Taiwan and the Philippines on the condition that the subsidiaries of Google and Facebook sign mitigation agreements with the U.S. government, the Department of Justice (DoJ) said Wednesday.
The committee’s recommendation was based on concerns about PLCN’s connection to Hong Kong-based Pacific Light Data subsidiary of Dr. Peng Group, which has ties to China’s intelligence and security services. The committee also cited the Chinese government's efforts to gain access to sensitive data of U.S. citizens.
“PLCN’s high capacity and low latency would encourage U.S. communications traffic crossing the Pacific to detour through Hong Kong before reaching intended destinations in other parts of the Asia Pacific region,” DOJ said in the report.
The committee was created through an executive order signed in April to evaluate foreign entities operating in the U.S. telecommunications sector. The committee is led by the foreign investment review section at DOJ’s national security division and includes the departments of Defense and Homeland Security.