Mobile network phone masts are visible in front of St Paul’s Cathedral in the City of London, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Canada eyes U.K.’s decision to grant Huawei partial access to 5G network

Canada the last of ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence allies to decide who will supply its 5G network equipment

Britain is granting Huawei partial access to its next-generation wireless network, but it still considers the Chinese telecom company a security risk that requires special attention, U.K. government officials said Tuesday.

The British decision had phone lines burning between London and Ottawa because Canada is now the last of the “Five Eyes” intelligence allies to decide the companies that will provide the equipment for its 5G network.

Upgraded wireless technology is expected to provide much faster data transfers for numerous purposes, from smart phones to autonomous vehicles to remote medical care. But only a handful of companies make the equipment needed to operate those next-generation networks, and the question is whether western allies that share top-secret data and worry about their citizens’ security are willing to let a Chinese company supply theirs.

The United States, Australia and New Zealand have all said no. Britain’s decision to allow Huawei partial access to its 5G industry changes the landscape.

The Trudeau government said it was studying the British decision but gave no indication about whether its long-awaited decision is coming soon. Its decision is complicated by China’s imprisonment of two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who were arbitrarily detained on spying charges more than a year ago.

That came after Canada arrested Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou on a U.S. extradition warrant.

Britain said Tuesday it would attempt to limit “high-risk” vendors’ access to the new upgraded network — coded language for Huawei, which it did not directly name — to 35 per cent of its less sensitive parts.

But U.K. officials, who briefed The Canadian Press on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, made clear that regulating Huawei was the intent. They had no comment on what Canada ought to do, but said Huawei is being treated carefully, not like an ordinary British company.

Huawei Canada says firmly that it is a Canadian entity, entirely independent of Beijing’s influence.

“It is important to remember that in our 10 years of operation in Canada, there has never been a security incident or a lapse of any sort. Not one,” Alykhan Velshi, a company vice-president, said in a statement. He noted the company employs more than 1,200 Canadians.

KEEP READING: ‘The court is being embarrassed’: Meng lawyers say Crown changed argument

The statement urged Canada to make its own independent decision, “based on technology and security, not politics” or pressure from the U.S. government under President Donald Trump.

Like Britain, Canada has been under pressure from the U.S. to ban Huawei, which deems the Chinese tech giant to be a national security threat — a charge the company denies.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

HuaweiMobile Phones

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Q&A: Interior Health CEO answers questions on COVID-19 response

Susan Brown, president and CEO of Interior Health, answers questions regarding COVID-19

Air Canada extends suspension of flights in and out of West Kootenay Regional Airport until April 30

It’s still unknown if flights will resume at Castlegar’s airport on May 1

School District 20 to improve childcare services for those working in emergency services

The district has launched a survey to aid in the consultation process

Trail closes all sani-dumps

City is focusing on maintaining core services

Kiwanis, Ferraro Foods helping Trail seniors stay safe

Kiwanis rallies to provide Trail seniors grocery delivery service

B.C. couple celebrates 61st anniversary through seniors’ home window

Frank and Rena Phillips marked occasion at Nanaimo Seniors Village this week while social distancing

A look at some of the B.C. inventors creating life-saving tools in fight against COVID-19

Groups across B.C. are working together to create what they hope will help people affected by the pandemic

Association launches French-language games, online tools for families learning at home

Games, culture and vocabulary included in new virtual resources

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the mandatory isolation must be abided by

Interior Health confirms five additional cases in Okanagan COVID-19 outbreak

The total amount of confirmed cases at Bylands Nurseries Ltd. is 19; no further cases expected

55+ BC Games cancelled amid COVID-19 concerns

Greater Victoria set to host 2021 event

ANKORS East Kootenay details concerns surrounding harm reduction amid COVID-19

Harm reduction providers are having to keep up with rapidly changing situation

BC Hydro offers three-month bill ‘holiday’ for those affected by COVID-19

Industrial customers can defer half of their power bills

Some April Fool’s Day jokes bring much-needed laughter; others tone deaf to COVID-19

Police are warning the public not to use the ongoing pandemic as a punchline

Most Read