The UK government has announced a clearer timetable for the eradication of Huawei telecoms equipment from our 5G networks. This revised timetable was outlined by Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden ahead of a new law being unveiled on Tuesday. It is believed by the UK government that Huawei telecoms equipment is "high-risk" due to the firm's links with the CCP. However, Huawei protests that the reactions of governments like the UK's are "politically motivated," rather than being based on technological analysis.
The major new date within the government's timetable is September 2021. From this date no new Huawei kit may be installed in the UK's telecommunications infrastructure. Referring back to our previous report from July, readers may be confused as at that time the government said that no one would be permitted to buy new Huawei 5G equipment from December 2020 – however please note the difference between buying and installing. It was worried that firms might stockpile the kit and install it at a later date...
On Tuesday the Digital Secretary will put forward the new Telecommunications Security Bill for debate in parliament. If passed, the bill will give the government national security powers to instruct telecoms providers how they can use equipment from 'high risk' firms like Huawei, if at all. The "new and unprecedented powers" can be used to impose hefty fines on telecoms companies that don't comply with the higher standards. Fines could be up to 10 per cent of company turnover or > £100,000 per day.
In addition to fixing the problem we have now, the UK government will be encouraging the sensible diversifying of 5G equipment suppliers. In September we reported upon new BT/EE partnerships with Nokia, and the government is investing £250 million in collaboration and R&D projects with Japanese firm NEC.
The date for the complete eradication of Huawei 5G equipment from the UK's networks remains "by end of 2027".