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Gov Consult on Legal Measures to Ban Huawei from UK FTTP and 5G Mobile

Friday, February 18th, 2022 (12:41 pm) - Score 3,072
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The Government has today launched a new consultation, which sets out their proposed legal instruments to control the use of Huawei’s telecoms equipment in UK networks. The move reflects both their BAN on the company’s kit for ultrafast 5G mobile platforms and related restrictions in gigabit broadband ISP networks etc.

Just to recap. Back in July 2020 the government revealed that it intended to ban “high risk vendors” from future 5G rollouts (here and here), which followed various US sanctions and security concerns around the role of Chinese firm Huawei in UK networks (ZTE is also banned). The ban started to come into force from 31st December 2020 (i.e. the date when operators must stop procuring new kit) and the removal of existing kit must follow by the end of 2027.

At the time UK mobile operators warned that this decision, which also impacts existing 4G kit due to the close interdependency of such networks, could delay completion of the 5G rollout by 2-3 years and add costs of up to £2bn across all operators (BT /EE alone previously said that they expected to take a £500m hit). All of this is less of an issue for O2 because they opted to go with Ericsson for their 5G deployment.

In November 2021 the related Telecommunications (Security) Act became law, which gave the government the legal mechanism to restrict the use of high-risk vendor equipment in public networks, where deemed necessary and proportionate in the interests of national security. But that act also required them to consult on the legal instruments for giving effect to this change.

The direction, subject to the consultation that begins today, legally requires telecoms operators to:

  • Remove all Huawei equipment from 5G networks by the end of 2027.

  • Not install Huawei equipment in 5G networks, effective immediately upon the issuing of the final direction.

  • Remove all Huawei equipment from the core of telecoms networks by 28th January 2023.

  • Not install sanctions-affected Huawei equipment in full fibre [FTTP broadband] networks, effective immediately upon the issuing of the direction. This includes any equipment for which the supply chain or manufacturing process has been altered due to the impact of US sanctions.

  • Reduce the share of Huawei equipment to 35% of the full fibre and 5G access (i.e. non-core) networks by 31st July 2023, which is 6-months later than previously announced due to the difficulties providers have faced during the pandemic.

  • Remove Huawei high data rate intra-core and inter-operator transmission equipment – hardware which sends data across a network without processing it – from all networks by 31 December 2025.

We should point out that mobile operators have already begun to make all of these changes, while Openreach have adopted new broadband suppliers for their Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network in the shape of ADTRAN and Nokia. CityFibre have also replaced Huawei’s kit on the FibreNation side of their network,which was acquired from TalkTalk a couple of years ago.

Nadine Dorries, UK Digital Secretary, said:

“The government is committed to ensuring the security and resilience of our phone and internet networks. Last year we brought in new laws to protect UK infrastructure from high-risk vendors and issue tough sanctions on providers which fall short of our high security standards. This consultation marks the next step in removing the risks posed by Huawei.”

A Huawei spokesperson said:

“We note the government’s consultation and will continue to support our UK customers with our network equipment, which is recognised as being among the most secure and trusted in the world.

Political pressures have already forced the Government to exclude Huawei from 5G, delaying its rollout by several years. These same pressures will jeopardise the rollout of fibre broadband, unnecessarily pushing up costs for businesses and families.

The country has the right to expect decisions to be made based on facts rather than unfounded security concerns.”

The Government claims that today’s development, particularly the newly proposed direction to ban the installation of sanctions-affected equipment in full fibre networks, is “not expected to impact the roll out of faster broadband” across the UK. “The telecoms industry remains committed to the government’s target of bringing gigabit broadband to at least 85 per cent of the UK by 2025,” said the Government.

We’d tend to agree with the above statement since, for most operators’, the FTTP rollout was still in its earliest phase when these ideas were first being broadcast to the industry. But that doesn’t make the extra costs that some operators have had to stomach any easier to tolerate.

The government said they consider that preventing any future installation of this equipment addresses the national security risk posed by Huawei in full fibre networks, but it “will consider views from consultees before reaching a final decision.”

The consultation will last for 4-weeks and is only open to public communications providers which would receive the direction, and Huawei, as the proposed designated vendor.

UPDATE 2:32pm

We’ve added a comment from Huawei above.

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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.
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28 Responses
  1. DJI says:

    silly political posturing. So now we have to pay twice as much for Ericsson kit who took down o2 because they “forgot” to renew an SSL cert.

    yay.

    1. Declan M says:

      There is Nokia available too

    2. Sam P says:

      You’re the one making it political because you don’t like Trump.

      The fact is, Huawei has been caught collecting information for the CCP, the Huawei CEO even worked for the CCP and Huawei even stole source code from Cisco, got caught and then paid them off to keep hush.

    3. DJI says:

      Absolute rubbish Sam.
      Otherwise, prove it.

      I can believe their CEO working for the CCP’s PLA … but there is zero proof that Huawei kit spies on people. Otherwise they’d never have installed it around the world in the first place. This is just Trump telling you to jump, and you asking how high. You can’t prove any of these things. Just repeating hearsay.

    4. HR2Res says:

      Whatever the truth about what Huawei kit is capable/not capable of doing, the simple truth is the ban on Huawei kit in the 5G backbone is not a Trump issue. Biden has the same intel info as Trump had and is following exactly the same course of action when he could simply have reversed Trump’s decision. The difference between Trump and Biden is that whereas Trump only believed the intel that passed across his desk if it met his narrative, Biden sides with his intel people, period.

    5. Truthsayer says:

      Lol imagine thinking that Biden is more than a decrepid senile old puppet. He can’t even go through a single press conference without making any gaffes and without taking any non scripted questions

    6. HR2Res says:

      LOL. Seems like having a monicker like “Truthsayer” and expecting truth is pretty much equivalent to expecting democracy in a country with “Democratic” in its name.

      Biden has a known history of being gaffe prone, to be sure (but overplayed by political opponents), and that is at least party down to having to overcome the effects of a stammer while performing in public life. So what’s your point?

      Let me ask you, Truthsayer, how many press conferences did Trump manage to get through without making a gaffe or resort to bumbling?

      Remind me, who said the 1917 Spanish Flu epidemic (which was 1918 btw, through to about 1920) brought “World War 2” to an end? A wonderful double gaffe: Biden or Trump? (Clue? It wasn’t the former!)

      Who pronounced Yosemite (as in the US national park) “Yo Semite”?

      Has Biden ever visited “Thigh-Land”? No, but Trump has!

      Who thought Finland was part of Russia (but perhaps Putin told him it was)? Not Biden.

      Who suggested on national TV that you should drink/inject chlorine-based bleach or shine UV light inside the body to combat coronavirus?

      On the 2016 campaign trail, who got confused between the local 7/11 stores and the infamous 9/11 incident: “Because I was down there, and I watched our police and our firemen down at 7/11, down at the World Trade Center right after it came down”?

      Which of the two (and a clue, it’s not the one with the stammer) could only say “oranges” when he couldn’t say “origins”?

      And back to coronavirus, who said that Americans were getting “one million eight hundred and seventy thousand million tests”?

      Who called Lil Pump “Little Pimp”?

      Who addressed a gathering of boy/girl scouts and rambled on about cocktail parties and rich folk having sex on boats?

      And who could forget pearls like the “hurricane was one of the wettest we’ve ever seen, from the standpoint of water”, or the meeting he had with himself when he said he’d met with the president of the Virgin Islands, or the statement that the revolutionary forces “took over the airports” during the American War of Independence (1775–1783), or regaling NASA in a tweet:, “For all of the money we are spending, NASA should NOT be talking about going to the Moon – We did that 50 years ago. They should be focused on the much bigger things we are doing, including Mars (of which the Moon is a part), Defense and Science!”?

      And remind me, who was the one who incited a rag-tag of racists, conspiracy theorists, and other societal dregs to storm the Capitol building?

      One could go on and on, and on and on, as Trump is the gift that keeps on giving when it comes to such things.

      And you meant “decrepit”. I only mention this because perhaps you could tell me who was it that was described as looking like a cow on roller skates when he tried to walk down a low-incline ramp?

      “Covfefe” anyone?

    7. Truthsayer says:

      H2 nice to see you love the orange man, don’t worry he’ll win again in 2024

  2. Mike says:

    I will still import Huawei routers if I want them; so far, they have been the most performant.

  3. William Wilkinson says:

    Absolutely the right thing to do by our government. The Chinese Communist Party are lying, cheating, spying thieves who seek to undermine us at every turn, because they fear our way of life. Giving them control over our 5G network would be madness. I will never buy a Huawei product ever again.

    1. MrDeo says:

      Uh, Okay.
      I have never seen any proof given that Huawei has anything bad or worse than other suppliers.
      Personally to me this seems more of a Brexit/Far Right related issue. Brexit because the US has blocked them (And 5 others) and the UK needs trade deals with the US.
      Much of the original arguments started because CN suppliers were refusing to put in backdoors for the USA, think about that for a moment. While some nations tell us how bad this company is, they are largely trying to drive it into the ground for other reasons that are not security related at all. As it stands currently there is no risk from Huawei.
      Side Note.. I have reviewed plenty of hardware from “California” and it all sihps from “China” where teams of “China” people write the firmware and software, but it’s “Trusted” because it’s a company from “California”.

    2. Mike says:

      In 2014 they were asked to put back doors in by the NSA iirc and they refused, hence they go on the naughty list.

    3. Mark says:

      @Admin I think it might be best if this comment is deleted as it is clearly racist and has no facts to back up its claim.

    4. Alek says:

      And u thought Putin was a problem

      I don’t mind the chinkys eat with the and sleep with them but never trust them especially when there is a mirror involved

    5. John says:

      Scary to see wumao tankies flocking in to defend winnie the pooh

    6. GoofyGoober says:

      Lying, cheating, thieving, spying (& alot worse) sounds like UK & US government.

  4. John says:

    Stop giving money to the Chinese Communist Party. It would be great if more countries followed suit but unfortunately Germany really wants to keep their chinese car sales up

  5. DJI says:

    you won’t have to. they’re talking about removing it from the mobile companies masts. Your personal Huawei equipment is not effected.

  6. Phil says:

    What about Openreach FTTC & G.fast Huawei cabinets? Are they going to removed it off and use FTTP instead?

    1. Squidgy says:

      Doesn’t look like it Max

    2. Daniel says:

      If it’s just the cabinet and not the equipment then I’m sure it would stay.

    3. anonymous says:

      If you have a look at the story they specifically mention full fibre, nothing about DSLAMs. Those are, rightly, going to stay.

    4. A_Builder says:

      Not a lot of point in changing the DSLAMs now that FTTP is rolling our fast and there is a rapid move away from copper.

      Realistically if you started messing with the DSLAMs you would slow the FTTP rollout down and bog down engineers fixing copper issues pulled off from new FTTP line drop installations.

      As DSLAMs will commercially be retiring starting quite soon I’m not seeing how or why messing with that would help?

  7. Vector says:

    How can we be sure end user equipment isnt affected by the ban? The networks seem to be no longer offering HUAWEI routers. I think theyll no longer offer ZTE routers soon too.

  8. John says:

    The think is, we allowed china to be the worlds factory by making stuff cheaply in the far east then shipping it over and charging the same price, slaving those Chinese workers for pennies per hour… it’s all big business and profits. Now that everything is made over there, we are trying to somehow stop them…

    They do the research in USA, UK, Japan etc. And make it in china, using cheap components and running those components near their maximum limits, so they fail, and we just throw it in the bin, and buy another… talk about wasting global resources, it’s pure greed and big business making the decisions eventually we’ll all pay one way or another… there’s not much repairs going on, just get the next fancy phone with hardly any improvement, but they’re not providing any software or OS update, so you’re forced to upgrade, the battery is built in, not user changeable… that’s the monster we all contributed to.

    1. Charlie lee says:

      You did not allow China to be world factory, you and large corporates want product dirt cheap and greedy mega profit. When you buy cheap and reliable products, have you think about how it get there? so save your pretend generosity and take it somewhere else

  9. Trew says:

    Damn shame what’s happening with Huawei.

    Still have my Mate 20 Pro going strong with no reason to upgrade yet.

  10. RedorBlue=orangemanbad says:

    ssshhhh the Huawei backdoor was just default enabled telnet daemon. sssssshhhh
    I use to support these and the first thing we did for customers was disable telnet and enable ssh.
    If your Huawei kit use super-micro mainboard then you’d have a problem with the board having a real backdoor but that wasn’t really Huawei’s fault but we won’t mention that and just go with the wider Huawei bad narrative because they really did help CCP build the surveillance network that is in China

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