» ISP News » 

Cross-Party Security Committee to Probe UK 5G Mobile Networks

Tuesday, July 16th, 2019 (11:34 am) - Score 1,025

The Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy (JCNSS) has launched a new inquiry into UK 5G and fixed broadband telecommunications infrastructure, which in the wake of all the alleged risks from Huawei’s kit will examine the issues of sustaining access to “safe” telecoms technology as a national security issue.

The announcement follows a new Open Letter to the Government (DCMS) from Norman Lamb, Chair of the Science & Technology Committee (STC), which claims to have found “no evidence … to suggest that the complete exclusion of Huawei from the UK’s telecommunications networks would, from a technical point of view, constitute a proportionate response to the potential security threat posed by foreign suppliers.”

Despite this the STC agreed that the existing concerns still warranted the exclusion of Huawei from the core of UK telecoms networks (but not non-core) and that most mobile operators had broadly already taken voluntary action to support this, although we suspect that the same may not be true across all fixed line providers.

As it stands the Government has yet to make a final decision about the Chinese company, which is despite PM Theresa May‘s widely reported support for a move to only ban their kit from the core of UK networks (here). You can read all of the context for why this is happening here and here.

Meanwhile the JCNSS committed is seeking written evidence on a number of areas (see below), which must be submitted by 13th September 2019.

Scope of the JCNSS Inquiry

* The challenges for the UK telecoms industry in a global market;

* The opportunities and risks involved in purchasing equipment and services for the UK telecoms sector from foreign suppliers;

* The effectiveness of the Government’s past and current support to the UK telecoms industry and innovation within the sector;

* Areas of strength and innovation in the UK telecoms industry;

* The scope and implementation of key documents including, but not limited to, the 2015 National Security Strategy and the 2017 Industrial Strategy;

* The potential role of regulation and legislation including, but not limited to, the 2018 White Paper on National Security and Investment;

* The roles and responsibilities of the National Security Council and relevant Government departments and agencies;

* The extent to which policy-making in this area draws on cross-government science, technology and cyber security expertise;

* How the UK’s approach compares with that of allies and partners such as France, Germany, the US, Canada and Australia;

* The potential for international cooperation with like-minded countries and multinational organisations in sustaining key industrial sectors, such as telecoms.

The biggest difficulty for this sort of inquiry is that the most sensitive national security details aren’t ever likely to be exposed in public. Such issues are a matter for the national security and intelligence agencies (secret), which is virtually impossible for ordinary folk to judge. We wouldn’t be so bold as to assume we know better than they do.

On the flip side telecoms operators have long made use of Huawei’s equipment within their networks, not least because it tends to represent a good mix of quality and affordability. Admittedly the firm has had a fair few public security scares of late too (poorly patched vulnerabilities in firmware etc.), but then so too have other big firms like Cisco.

For mobile operators the biggest problem with a total ban from 5G networks would be that you can’t do 4G without 5G (dual-purpose hardware etc.), thus they’d face the massive cost of needing to re-do their networks and the likely delays that would cause for the 5G rollout.

On the other hand it’s not like we haven’t seen plenty of warning signals from security committees over the past few years (these are not new concerns).

Share with Twitter
Share with Linkedin
Share with Facebook
Share with Reddit
Share with Pinterest
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
9 Responses
  1. TheFacts says:

    How many engineers on the committee?

    1. Billy says:

      How many engineers are required to spoil a good conspiracy theory?

    2. Mike says:

      Wouldn’t that put the government in danger of being competent?

    3. Joe says:

      @Mike The Gov doesn’t appoint the C. Sorry to spoil you misguided argument.

  2. t0m5k1 says:

    Given that the “Backdoor” they were worried about was just telnet being enabled I’m unsure what else they’re going to look for lol

    Personally I think this is all US BS from Trump administration as Huawei are the biggest tech retailer in China, Then again there are those that will toe the line and blanket state Huawei = china = bad, get rid with no proof to back up what they state other than “China Gov. clearly are involved!”

    1. Mike says:

      Huawei also told Uncle Sam to go pound sand in 2014 regarding implementing backdoors for them.

  3. AnotherTim says:

    This can only delay things. While a committee is looking into this no company can make sensible decisions. Two months for submissions, then several more months before a conclusion is published.

  4. Ex engineer says:

    This has never been tested for safety never mind security, many think it’s a conspiracy but look at the thousands of scientists who say this millimetre could bring not only to us but the environment.

    1. AnotherTim says:

      What aspect of 5G do you think hasn’t been tested for safety?

Comments are closed.

Comments RSS Feed

Javascript must be enabled to post (most browsers do this automatically)

Privacy Notice: Please note that news comments are anonymous, which means that we do NOT require you to enter any real personal details to post a message. By clicking to submit a post you agree to storing your comment content, display name, IP, email and / or website details in our database, for as long as the post remains live.

Only the submitted name and comment will be displayed in public, while the rest will be kept private (we will never share this outside of ISPreview, regardless of whether the data is real or fake). This comment system uses submitted IP, email and website address data to spot abuse and spammers. All data is transferred via an encrypted (https secure) session.

NOTE 1: Sometimes your comment might not appear immediately due to site cache (this is cleared every few hours) or it may be caught by automated moderation / anti-spam.

NOTE 2: Comments that break our rules, spam, troll or post via known fake IP/proxy servers may be blocked or removed.
Cheapest Ultrafast ISPs
  • Vodafone £23.50 (*26.50)
    Speed: 100Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Gigaclear £24.00 (*49.00)
    Speed: 300Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Hyperoptic £25.00 (*35.00)
    Speed: 150Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: Promo Code: ROKUGIFT
  • Community Fibre £27.50 (*32.50)
    Speed: 200Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: First 6 Months Free
  • Virgin Media £28.00 (*52.00)
    Speed: 108Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
Large Availability | View All
New Forum Topics
Cheapest Superfast ISPs
  • Vodafone £19.50 (*22.50)
    Speed 38Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • NOW £20.00 (*32.00)
    Speed 36Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Hyperoptic £20.00 (*25.00)
    Speed 50Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: Promo Code: ROKUGIFT
  • TalkTalk £21.00 (*29.95)
    Speed 38Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Shell Energy £21.99 (*30.99)
    Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
Large Availability | View All
The Top 20 Category Tags
  1. FTTP (3667)
  2. BT (3044)
  3. Politics (1975)
  4. Building Digital UK (1945)
  5. FTTC (1897)
  6. Openreach (1862)
  7. Business (1717)
  8. Mobile Broadband (1501)
  9. Statistics (1430)
  10. FTTH (1367)
  11. 4G (1295)
  12. Virgin Media (1196)
  13. Fibre Optic (1184)
  14. Wireless Internet (1176)
  15. Ofcom Regulation (1167)
  16. Vodafone (859)
  17. EE (845)
  18. 5G (792)
  19. TalkTalk (781)
  20. Sky Broadband (757)
Helpful ISP Guides and Tips

Copyright © 1999 to Present - ISPreview.co.uk - All Rights Reserved - Terms , Privacy and Cookie Policy , Links , Website Rules , Contact