Limited involvement in the UK’s 5G network
The UK National Security Council gave the greenlight to use equipment manufactured by Huawei, one of the world’s largest mobile phone manufacturers, in the roll out of fifth-generation mobile phone network. However, the council has limited its market share in the 5G infrastructure to 35% and will exclude its kit from the sensitive core of the networks, such as servers. It will also be banned from sensitive areas near military bases and nuclear sites.
Limiting the Chinese owned firm’s involvement in this way is in response to the multiple warnings from the US, who claim that including Huawei in the UK’s 5G network will leave the country open to spying from the Chinese state. The UK has also agreed to work alongside other nations, the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, among others, in the ‘five eyes’ alliance. The aim of this alliance is to develop alternative telecoms suppliers to have “no high-risk vendors in the system” according to UK officials, though this could take up to three years.
Tough measures in place to protect national security
According to culture secretary Nicky Morgan, connectivity cannot come at the price of our national security but goes on to say that “high-risk vendors never have been, and never will be, in our most sensitive networks” and that “this decision not only paves the way for secure and resilient networks, with our sovereignty over data protected, but it also builds on our strategy to develop a diversity of suppliers.”
One of the reasons the government has approved the plans, despite the warnings, is that denying Huawei a role would delay the rollout of this world-class network by two to three years and cost tens of billions of pounds. In a statement, the government said that the planned measures ensure a “tough new telecoms security framework” that will protect the UK from a range of threats.
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