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Johnson Introduces TEAM TELECOM Act

We must prioritize ending foreign interference in our telecommunications industry.”

Washington, June 24, 2021 | Ben Keeler (330.337.6951)

WASHINGTON Congressman Bill Johnson (R-Marietta) released the following statement after introducing H.R. 4029, the TEAM TELECOM Act:

BACKGROUND: “Team Telecom” is the informal name for a makeshift interagency working group composed of representatives from the Departments of Defense (“DOD”), Homeland Security (“DHS”), and Justice (“DOJ”), along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), who assess and address national security and law enforcement issues associated with foreign applicants of certain categories of applications to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

“My legislation would codify Team Telecom, making it a permanent part of the FCC’s official application process,” Bill Johnson said. “It also ensures that this process will be viewed through the lens of national security while giving the team the ability to make recommendations for the FCC to dismiss, deny, or modify any applications they deem a threat. In addition to formalizing the existing review process, my legislation builds on the policy coordination role of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in communicating executive branch views with the FCC, as they do in other contexts.”

“As we continue to see foreign countries such as Russia and China try and undermine the United States’ telecommunications market, we must provide the FCC with all the tools they need to keep our telecom industry safe from manipulation,” Johnson added. “Passing this legislation would be a concrete step towards taking a larger, more forceful stand against our foreign adversaries. I hope my colleagues will support this commonsense effort to add another line of protection for the American telecommunications industry.”

Specifically, H.R. 4029 would:

  • Codify the Team Telecom review process at NTIA.
  • Standardize the information required from each applicant and require the information to be publicly available on NTIA’s website.
  • Formalize deadlines for: the interagency review of an application; notification of an extension or determination of the application; requested provisional information to be submitted by applicants to NTIA; or disclosure on the status of an application should NTIA receive an inquiry from the applicant.

You can view the full bill text here: