Boris Johnson grants Huawei limited access to UK's 5G network

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Boris Johnson has opted to grant Chinese technology firm Huawei a limited role in providing the UK’s 5G network, despite warnings from the US over security fears.

The Prime Minister today chaired a meeting of the National Security Council in Downing Street, where it was decided that “high-risk vendors” should be permitted to play a peripheral role in the high speed communications upgrade.

But advice issued to telecoms operators by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said such vendors should be barred from all safety-related and critical networks.

They will also be excluded from security critical "core" functions, and sensitive geographic locations, such as nuclear sites and military bases.

5G is expected produce download speeds 10 times faster than what 4G currently offers, but concerns were raised over using Huawei to implement it due to the company’s surveillance work for the Chinese State.

Prior to the decision, former Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood said the Huawei question wass one of the biggest dilemmas the country will face in a decade.

Mr Ellwood told talkRADIO that there were “genuine concerns” in Parliament about “where China is going with its domination over technological supremacy in the next 10 years”.

“[Huawei] is obliged by China to spy, to provide surveillance for the Chinese State and this is a big question,” he told Julia Hartley-Brewer.

The Conservative MP added: “It’s the biggest question, arguably, aside from Brexit that we will face in a decade”.

Meanwhile, technology expert Guy Cocker said the technology would “completely change the infrastructure of the country.”

He said the implementation of 5G could pave the way to autonomous vehicles, drone deliveries could “revolutionise” the way the emergency services respond to accidents.

“We’re on that path to the future and the 5G network is going to make this happen…and so it’s incredibly important that we get this right and that the government makes the right decision.”

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