Cable operators pressured to cut ties to Huawei

Comcast  (Nasdaq: CMCSA), Suddenlink Communications, BendBroadband and other cable operators that have deployed set-tops from Chinese manufacturer Huawei are facing pressure to cut ties to the company following the release of a House Intelligence Committee report earlier this week that said Huawei and telecom supplier ZTE could pose a national security threat.

The timing of the release of the report could pose some challenges for Huawei, which has been one of the largest exhibitors the last few years at The Cable Show and the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo conventions. The company will be pitching set-tops and other gear to cable operators at next week's Cable-Tec Expo in Orlando, Fla.

Suddenlink said it is still reviewing the report. "Our team has been reviewing it and we will proceed accordingly on these proprietary matters," spokesman Pete Abel said in a statement Friday.

Last year, Huawei recruited former BendBroadband CTO Frank Miller to lead its efforts to sell cable gear to U.S. operators. BendBroadband was one of Huawei's first U.S. customers and was cited in the House Intelligence Committee report, along with Comcast and Suddenlink. BendBroadband didn't respond to requests for comment about how the report could impact their business with Huawei on Friday.

A Comcast spokesperson said that "We work with many vendors, including Huawei, whose role is limited. We work with multiple vendors to foster innovation and competition, and we regularly evaluate current and potential vendors. Ensuring the security of our network and our customers' information has always been and continues to be our top priority."

Huawei spokeswoman Jannie Luong dismissed the findings of the report. "Despite the lack of evidence, the committee is calling for an unprecedented and unjustified embargo on Huawei doing business in the U.S. This embargo reduces competition in the U.S and fails to address the committee's core cyber security concerns," Luong said in a statement. 

For more:
- see the House Intelligence Committee report
- The Philadelphia Inquirer has this story
- The Washington Post has this story

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