There has been an absurd amount of umming and arring about Huawei and the role it may or may not play in the UK’s 5G rollout. The Americans, being American, have been pushing the government to ban Huawei from having any part of the system, while the telecoms providers would quite like to continue using them as they always have. Now the government has made a final decision, announcing that using Huawei kit is alright after all.
But there are some caveats involved, naturally. The government has outlined a bunch of limitations being placed on the Chinese firm and other “high risk” vendors. A high risk vendor is being defined as those that “pose greater security and resilience risks to UK telecoms networks.” Obviously the criteria for hitting that classification has not been revealed publicly.
So any vendors added to this list is barred from providing kit for the “security critical” core network, are excluded from all critical and safety-related network infrastructure, are banned from sensitive locations like military bases, and have a market share cap of 35 per cent – a move that will supposedly prevent an over-reliance on their equipment.
Apparently that last point was something the government highlighted in its report, noting a need for improved supply chain diversity. The government will also be keeping an eye on the 35 per cent cap, in case it needs to be reduced in future.
No doubt there will be some consequences for ignoring the US’s demands, especially since Trump has already been blustering about a trade war with the UK while other American politicians insist that it will affect intelligence sharing operations. But we will have to wait and see whether that’s all a big fat bluff, as the EU and MI5 suspect.
In any case it’s nice to see the government isn’t going to just roll over and bow down to American demands in the hopes of getting some sort of post-Brexit trade deal. [Gov.uk via The Verge]