US Ban On Semiconductor Exports To China Hits Huawei

The British government has confirmed it is undertaking a fresh review of Huawei's participation on the national 5G telecoms network system, although Huawei has consistently denied that its technology could be used for covert surveillance. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) in the UK is now expected to conclude that US sanctions against Huawei will make it impossible to use the Chinese company’s technology for 5G networks as originally planned.

The growing confrontation between the US and China over claims that the Chinese governmnet  attempted to conceal the initial coronavirus infections has been followed by the US Department of Commerce introducing new rules that requires foreign manufacturers using American chip-making equipment to get an export licence before being allowed to sell semiconductors to Huawei.

A NCSC spokesman said: "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."The US sanctions restrict Huawei from using American technology and software to design its semi-conductors. These regulations implemented last year require the firm to obtain a licence in order to export US items. The US says that Huawei avoided this rule by using US semiconductor manufacturing equipment at factories from other countries. 

The UK government had previously approved a limited role for Huawei in building the country's new mobile networks. Huawei was banned from supplying kit to "sensitive parts" of the UK network, known as the core. In addition, it is only allowed to account for 35% of the kit in a network's periphery, which includes radio masts. UK mobile operators were told  that they would have three years to comply with caps on the use of Huawei equipment in their networks.

Responding to the review, Victor Zhang, vice-president at Huawei, said: "Our priority remains to continue the rollout of a reliable and secure 5G networks across Britain."

Intelligence experts say it is a security risk to allow the Chinese company to play any role at all in the UK's 5G network, due to fears it could be used by China to spy on, intercept or sabotage communications.

5G network technology offers much faster mobile internet data speeds, a stable network that can handle more connections, and more bandwidth for a multitude of different technological applications, has been touted as being a way to bridge the digital divide in areas where broadband internet deployment have been inconsistent. The most recent information from Huawei is that the firm has so far won 91 5G contracts across the world to date.

Three out of four of the UK's mobile networks Vodafone, EE and Three had already decided to use and deploy Huawei's 5G products outside the core in the "periphery" and a group of British parliamentarians have been demanding that Huawei’s position be reduced to zero.

CNBC:         Industry Week:         BBC:         Guardian:        Independent:

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