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Photo: Paco Freire/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The FCC voted unanimously Friday to approve a ban prohibiting companies from using federal telecom subsidies to purchase equipment from Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE, deeming them national security threats.

Why it matters: The FCC's ban comes amid rising tensions with Huawei in the global race to 5G deployment and trade negotiations with China.

The big picture: Earlier this week, the Commerce Department handed Huawei a win by granting U.S. companies' requests for waivers to allow them to supply Huawei with components.

  • Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said she fears the agency's move could get swept up in broader trade issues.
  • "Despite our actions today, we have to grapple with the fact that at any moment the administration could trade away our security objectives for some momentary advantage in bilateral trade negotiations," Rosenworcel said.

Driving the news: The FCC ban would prevent carriers — many serving rural communities — from using funding from the $8.5 billion Universal Service Fund to purchase equipment or services from the two companies.

  • The FCC said the order is based on long-standing concerns about the two firms, including their ties to the Chinese government and Chinese laws that require them to cooperate with the government.
  • "If the Chinese government is willing to use its leverage over things like professional basketball and Taiwanese flag emojis, imagine what could happen if we allowed Chinese company equipment into our 5G networks," FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said.
  • The FCC also approved a proposal that would require carriers receiving the subsidies to remove existing equipment from their networks, and seeks comment on a reimbursement program to help offset the cost of removal.

Go deeper: Why Huawei is the United States' 5G boogeyman

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - World

Over 3,000 detained in protests across Russia demanding Navalny's release

Russian police officers beat protestesters at a rally against of jailing of oppositon leader Alexei Navalny in Moscow on Saturday. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Police in Russia on Saturday arrested more than 3,300 people as protesters nationwide demanded that opposition leader Alexey Navalny be released from jail.

Details: Demonstrations began in the eastern regions of Russia and spread west to more than 60 cities.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona Republicans censure Cindy McCain and GOP governor

Combination images of Cindy McCain and Gov. Doug Ducey. Photo: FilmMagic/FilmMagic for U.S.VETS/Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Arizona Republican Party members voted on Saturday to censure prominent GOP figures Cindy McCain, Gov. Doug Ducey and former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who've all faced clashes with former President Trump.

Why it matters: Although the resolution is symbolic, this move plus the re-election of the Trump-endorsed Kelli Ward as state GOP chair shows the strong hold the former president has on the party in Arizona, despite President Biden winning the state in the 2020 election.

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Education: Schools face an uphill battle to reopen during the pandemic.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong puts tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge — Pfizer to supply 40 million vaccine doses to lower-income countries — Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca vaccine.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.