British Government Thinking Again About Huawei

The British government has launched a new security review of Huawei’s involvement in the UK’s telecoms infrastructure following reports that it is planning to entirely remove the company’s equipment from British networks.

It was only six months ago that Prime Minister Boris Johnson decided to give Huawei a limited role in 5G wireless networks, while capping its market share. Now, the UK is expected to conclude that US sanctions against Huawei will make it impossible to use the Chinese company’s technology as planned for 5G networks. 

Now, Boris Johnson says the governmnet is are preparing to explain plans to strip out the Chinese tech giant’s equipment from the networks by 2023. A government spokesperson confirmed on Sunday 24th May that the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) had been tasked with reviewing how new US sanctions on Huawei would impact the UK’s telecoms networks.
The news came after it emerged that up to 50 Conservative MPs would be willing to vote against existing plans to reduce the company’s market share in BT Networks to 35 per cent, while excluding it from the core of 5G networks. 

The US government has also continued to put pressure on Britain over the matter even after Johnson initially defied its demands to drop the company.

The move would deal a heavy blow to Huawei, which has worked in the UK for 20 years and says it is being used as a pawn in the trade war between the US and China. It denies that its technology poses a national security risk.The US has stressed it sees Huawei as an espionage risk and was senior officials were reportedly furious at the UK’s decision in January to allow the Chinese vendor a role in building Britain’s future networks. 

Huawei has always denied its technology is a security risk and described many of the attacks on it as driven by political, anti-China sentiments.

A decision to ban Huawei’s telecoms equipment is also likely to spark a furious response from network operators. Britain’s biggest telecoms companies have repeatedly argued that removing Huawei from the network entirely would slow down the roll out of 5G in the UK and cost hundreds of millions of pounds.

Huawei equipment already makes up large parts of the UK’s 4G mobile networks. Even if the ban only extended to 5G, much of the technology is built on top of older 4G Huawei kit. This older technology may not work with kit made by other manufacturers.

Responding to the initial reports, Huawei vice president Victor Zhang is rported as saying: “We’ve seen the reports from unnamed sources which simply don’t make sense. The government decided in January to approve our part in the 5G rollout, because Britain needs the best possible technologies, more choice, innovation and more suppliers, all of which means more secure and more resilient networks.”

A spokesperson for the British government told reportesr: “The security and resilience of our networks is of paramount importance. Following the US announcement of additional sanctions against Huawei, the NCSC is looking carefully at any impact they could have to the UK’s networks.”

Guardian:       New Statesman:      Telegraph

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