Citing concerns about the security of products produced by Chinese company Huawei, the British government announced last week that they were banning all Huawei products from the construction of Britain’s 5G network. While some within Britain have complained that the British government was pressured into the move by United States President Donald Trump, the British government is apparently moving forward with plans for alternative sourcing for the material from Japan.
5G technology promises to revolutionize wireless data transmission and potentially open the doorway for new and as-yet-unimagined technological breakthroughs. As countries around the world ramp up infrastructure development in preparation for widespread 5G usage, companies that manufacture telecommunications equipment stand to realize billions in revenue.
The Chinese government has been exerting enormous pressure on countries around the world to use Huawei products, even reportedly attempting to leverage its stockpiles of medical equipment during the coronavirus crisis (which it caused) to coerce countries into using Huawei.
Many are concerned, however, that Huawei acts as a de facto arm of the Chinese Communist government, and that Huawei equipment will allow the Chinese government to spy on or potentially sabotage communications of anyone who uses 5G technology. These concerns caused the United States government to issue sanctions on Huawei in May of this year, which prevented United States companies from providing equipment and components to Huawei.
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These actions caused Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre to “significantly change” their security assessment of Huawei’s presence in Britain’s 5G network. The British government announced last Tuesday that all Huawei equipment would have to be purged from its wireless network by 2027.
Reports from Reuters now indicate that Britain is considering NEC Corp. and Fujitsu Ltd. as possible alternatives to Huawei.
Meanwhile, unnamed sources in Britain’s government blamed the recent shift on President Donald Trump, and have reportedly indicated through “back channels” that the decision to remove Huawei might be reversed if Trump loses the presidential election in November.