Huawei could be banned from UK’s 5G network ‘by 2022 after fresh Government concession to Tory rebels’
- Government announced in July that Huawei was being banned from 5G network
- Ministers set deadline of 2027 to strip out Huawei 5G equipment from network
- Ministers now expected to impose a cutoff date for installing Huawei equipment
Ministers are preparing to ban telecommunications firms from installing new Huawei equipment into the UK’s 5G network from as early as 2022.
The Government announced in July that it was U-turning on a decision it made in January to grant the Chinese tech giant a role in building Britain’s 5G network.
The company was banned from the network and all of its existing 5G technology has to be stripped out by 2027 over national security concerns.
Ministers are also planning to impose a date after which the installation of Huawei 5G equipment will be prohibited in the UK, with reports suggesting the cutoff could be in just two years’ time.
The move represents a significant victory for Conservative rebels who have been urging the Government to go further in its crackdown on Huawei.
Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden today laid the Government’s Telecommunications (Security) Bill before Parliament. It will cement the decision to ban Huawei from the UK’s 5G network
Ministers announced in July this year that they were banning Huawei from helping to build the UK’s 5G network over national security concerns
The decision to ban Huawei from the 5G network promoted a furious response from Beijing and came after the US had urged its allies not to use the company’s technology because of national security concerns – concerns which have always been rejected by the firm.
The prospect of a swift ban on installing Huawei 5G equipment is likely to further strain relations between Britain and China.
The cutoff date is still under consideration but officials told The Times it could be as soon as 2022.
Ministers today formally tabled legislation in Parliament which will give them greater powers to shut out so-called high risk vendors from the UK’s telecoms infrastructure.
The Telecommunications (Security) Bill will cement the Government’s decision to ban Huawei from the 5G network.
It will create national security powers which will allow the Government to impose controls on when – if at all – a telecoms firm could use material supplied by companies such as Huawei.
Under the proposals, security protocols around UK networks will be strengthened, with fines of 10 per cent of turnover or £100,000 a day for firms which do not comply with the new standards.
Communications regulator Ofcom is to be tasked with the monitoring and assessing of security protocols among telecoms providers.
Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said: ‘We are investing billions to roll-out 5G and gigabit broadband across the country but the benefits can only be realised if we have full confidence in the security and resilience of our networks.
‘This groundbreaking Bill will give the UK one of the toughest telecoms security regimes in the world and allow us to take the action necessary to protect our networks.’
Dr Ian Levy, technical director at the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), said: ‘The roll-out of 5G and gigabit broadband presents great opportunities for the UK but as we benefit from these we need to improve security in our national networks and operators need to know what is expected of them.
‘We are committed to driving up standards and this bill imposes new telecoms security requirements which will help operators make better risk management decisions.’
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