Huawei set for key role in UK’s 5G networks

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Controversial Chinese tech giant Huawei, has today been selected by the UK government to be used in its future 5G networks.

However, it was also revealed that Huawei will be given restricted access, despite constant pressure from the US to block the company from entering the UK 5G market over data security risks. Huawei will only be allowed to account for 35% of the kit in the UK’s network, which includes radio masts. The firm will also not be allowed to be near a military base.

The Government confirmed kit from Huawei will be banned from the “sensitive” core of future UK 5G and gigabit-capable fixed broadband ISP networks. However, non-core 5G kit (antennas, street cabinets, etc) will be allowed.

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke to President Trump yesterday afternoon and updated him on the outcome of the UK’s telecoms supply chain review.

A Downing Street representative commented: “The Prime Minister underlined the importance of like-minded countries working together to diversify the market and break the dominance of a small number of companies.”

Victor Zhang, Vice-President of Huawei commented on the announcement: “Huawei is reassured by the UK government’s confirmation that we can continue working with our customers to keep the 5G roll-out on track.”

Industry reaction

Matt Powell, Broadband Genie

“The decision to allow Huawei to have limited involvement in 5G and full-fibre infrastructure comes down to time and money. Banning the firm would have added additional delays and cost at a time when the UK economy faces serious challenges. It could also impact Boris Johnson’s pledge to deliver gigabit fibre to the nation by 2025.

“But it makes little sense from a security perspective. If the government believes there is a legitimate security risk and does not trust Huawei to be involved in the “core” of the network, it should not be trusted to supply “non-core” components either.”

Matthew Fell, CBI Chief UK Policy Director

“It’s right that the Government took its time to assess the merits of Huawei’s involvement in the UK’s 5G network. This solution appears a sensible compromise that gives the UK access to cutting-edge technology, whilst building in appropriate checks and balances around security.

“5G is a technology that will transform lives, businesses and reinvigorate the UK’s digital infrastructure. It has the potential to add real economic value to all parts of country and end the digital divide which holds too many rural areas back.”

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  1. 5G networks are neither ethical, secure, nor sustainable:

    • Demonstrated harmful biological effects
    • Demonstrated catastrophic ecological impact
    • Clear and present risk to public safety/security
    • Orwellian mass surveillance / population control
    • 3,000%+ higher energy consumption vs. wired coms
    • Multi-domain financial costs and environmental impacts
    • No-one will insure related risks = “high risk” (Swiss Re, 2019)

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