The government has announced that telecom companies must remove Huawei equipment from its 5G networks by September, marking a significant U-turn from the decision made in January.
This move comes after the July announcement that no new kit from Chinese firm Huawei will be allowed to be installed from 31 December this year, and the new Telecommunications Security Bill, which came into effect in 2019, both of which have made it extremely clear that Huawei and the potential security risks its kit brings will have no place in the government’s plans.
One of the people who have been extremely vocal about Huawei’s involvement in the UK’s technological future is Brexit Party (now Reform UK) leader Nigel Farage, who has made his anti-China sentiment very clear, often decrying Beijing for it’s questionable record on human rights.
The amendment to the aforementioned Telecommunications Security Act is set to be debated in the Commons, with current legislation stating that telecoms companies can be fined £100,000 per day or 10% of their turnover for failing to comply with security standards. Furthermore, the government have announced a £250 million investment to encourage competition within the industry, a further blow to Huawei who were previously afflicted with the limitations placed on them in January.
Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden stated that “I’m clear-eyed about the risks pose by Huawei and other high-risk vendors, and in July I announced that all telecoms providers should remove Huawei equipment from our 5G networks by 2027. Without this bill, we can’t enforce that.”
Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden
The Commons are unlikely to reverse this decision, due to the previous U-turn already committed to in January, and the repeated promise that the 2027 deadline is entirely non-negotiable, with this legislation undoubtedly being a key nail in the coffin for Huawei and its relations with the UK’s 5G network.