The United Kingdom government has ordered that telecoms providers in the country have to stop installing equipment from the Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei in the country’s 5G networks starting September next year.
Prior to the introduction of the telecommunications (security) bill before parliament, a roadmap to remove high-risk vendors from the country’s 5G networks was set out by the country’s digital secretary, Oliver Dowden.
Under the new legislation, the government will have the powers related to national security, empowering government authorities to impose control on companies over when – if at all – they will be allowed to use equipment made and supplied by companies such as China’s Huawei.
The Chinese telecom giant, the largest telecom equipment maker in the world so far, was to be banned from the most sensitive core parts of UK networks, the UK government had announced in the summer. At that time, the government had also announced that equipment from the company would have to be removed from 5G networks by all telecom service providers of the country by 2027 and this clause would also be incorporated in the new bill.
However, telecom companies will have to stop installing new Huawei equipment in 5G networks in the country starting the end of September next year, Dowden has now confirmed. An allowance will be made in the case of maintaining previously-installed Huawei equipment.
Providing an outline of how the government will ensure the UK is “never again dependent on a handful of telecoms vendors”, a 5G Supply Chain Diversification Strategy was also published by him.
“Today I am setting out a clear path for the complete removal of high-risk vendors from our 5G networks. This will be done through new and unprecedented powers to identify and ban telecoms equipment which poses a threat to our national security. We are also publishing a new strategy to make sure we are never again dependent on a handful of telecoms vendors for the smooth and secure running of our networks,” Dowden said.
“Our plans will spark a wave of innovation in the design of our future mobile networks,” Dowden added.
An initial spending of £250m to begin work on creating a more diverse, competitive and innovative supply market for telecoms will be made by the government under the new diversification strategy. In addition to making investments in innovative open radio technology, a National Telecoms Lab research facility will also be established by the government under the plan.
The new bill which will be debated in the UK parliament is also expected to strengthen the security protocols around UK networks with fines which would be 10 per cent of turnover or £100,000 a day and applicable to companies that fail to meet the conditions of the new standards under the new law.
The monitoring and assessing of security protocols among telecoms providers is to be conducted by the communications regulator Ofcom.
(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)