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Gold Level Contributor

Image: Reuters

A new security law being unveiled on Tuesday threatens telecoms giants with hefty fines if they fail to tighten security.

The Telecommunications Security Bill bans the involvement of Chinese firm Huawei in the UK's 5G mobile network.

But it also says that companies which fail to meet deadlines for higher security requirements could face enormous fines.

Some of these could be 10% of turnover, or more than £100,000 a day.

Attempts to ban Huawei from the 5G network have been continuing for more than a year. But the new bill is the first step in enshrining such bans in law, and offers details of exactly how it will work - assuming Parliament passes it.

The bill provides government with national security powers, allowing it to give instructions to the big telecoms companies such as BT about how they use "high risk" vendors including Huawei.

But a new measure contained within the draft law is that any companies which do not live up to expectations will face heavy fines for failure. The threatened sum of £100,000 a day would only be used in the case of "continuing contravention", the government said.

Ofcom, the communications regulator, will be given the job of policing the rules - along with new powers it may need to do so.

The move to formally legislate follows months of national and international political wrangling over the company's threat to security and its alleged links to the Chinese state.

Initially, the UK decided that Huawei equipment should be removed from the sensitive part of the core network, and only make up a maximum of 35% of the non-core systems. The deadline was set to be 2023.

However, amid pressure from the United States, it was revised to order the complete removal of Huawei kit from the entire 5G network by 2027.

In recent days, Huawei has commissioned economic research showing that a ban on its 5G equipment will prove a costly setback to the UK's 5G ambitions, and has mounted a publicity campaign with a simple message to the government - you're making a big mistake.

 

The Chinese company seemed to think that the defeat of Donald Trump, whose US administration had lobbied so hard for the ban, might make ministers think again. If so, this bill shows that assumption was wrong, though both Huawei and the mobile operators will be relieved that the government has resisted pressure from some Conservative MPs to move the deadline to remove its equipment forward to 2025.

Huawei may also be more focused now on making sure other countries in Europe do not follow the UK's lead. Meanwhile, the mobile operators are getting on with signing new deals with Nokia and Ericsson, and seem to be markedly less vocal in their claims that taking Huawei out of the equation would be a costly catastrophe.

"We are investing billions to roll out 5G and gigabit broadband across the country, but the benefits can only be realised if we have full confidence in the security and resilience of our networks," Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said.

 

"This groundbreaking bill will give the UK one of the toughest telecoms security regimes in the world and allow us to take the action necessary to protect our networks."

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said the security obligations were likely to include things such as rules on who had access to sensitive parts of the "core" network, how security audits were conducted, and protecting customer data.

The technical director of the National Cyber Security Centre, Dr Ian Levy, said "our national networks and operators need to know what is expected of them".

He added: "We are committed to driving up standards, and this bill imposes new telecoms security requirements which will help operators make better risk-management decisions."

Huawei, however, dismissed such concerns about its own operations.

"This decision is politically motivated and not based on a fair evaluation of the risks," said Huawei vice-president Victor Zhang.

"It does not serve anyone's best interests as it would move Britain into the digital slow lane and put at risk the government's levelling-up agenda."

Analysis by Rory Cellan-Jones - Technology Correspondent
BBC | November 24, 2020

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Gold Level Contributor

UK poised to shut the door on Huawei

Image: Shutterstock

The UK government looked set to begin the process of removing Huawei from networks in the country and ban operators from purchasing new equipment, after a review into the vendor found severe security issues, The Sunday Times reported.

It reported a review by the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) deemed Huawei’s products unsecure, and ministers are likely to approve policy in the next two weeks which would see a ban on the purchase of new Huawei equipment implemented at the end of the year.

Should the policy come into force, Huawei kit would be removed from existing parts of 5G networks by 2026 or 2027, which would be followed by its 4G and 3G involvement.

Unprecedented
The NCSC’s decision represents a major shift from earlier in the year, when the UK approved operators to use Huawei equipment in non-sensitive parts of their networks, limited to 35 per cent.

However, in May, NCSC confirmed it was conducting a fresh review into the vendor to assess the impact of tightened US sanctions around the use of domestic components in overseas chip production.

The Sunday Times reported the NCSC found the US move “fundamentally changes” the situation, prompting the policy changes, which could be announced officially at the end of this month.

An unnamed government source told The Sunday Times the US sanctions are “unlike anything we’ve ever seen before”.

“Huawei is in a position without any easy fixes or loopholes. This fundamentally changes the calculation. The impacts are so severe that, given the need to give clarity to industry, there will be decision taken and parliament will be notified this month,” the source said.

The shift in stance on Huawei would represent a major victory for both the US, which lobbied for its allies to ban the vendor, and certain MPs within the government, who maintained pressure on UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to take a harder line on the company.

Huawei has protested its innocence since news of NCSC’s review in May, arguing it posed no security risk and insisting it operates independently from the Chinese government.

Originally published by
Kavit Majithia | July 6, 2020
Mobile World Live

 

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Gold Level Contributor

Vodafone tips 5G to aid UK Covid-19 recovery

Vodafone UK called on the government to prioritise 5G rollout as part of its Covid-19 (coronavirus) recovery plan, as it published a new report predicting the technology could add £158 billion to the economy over the next decade.

The operator stated research for its Levelling up: How 5G can boost productivity across the UK report, which it commissioned in association with consultancy WPI Economics, showed the technology could deliver the economic boost by transforming the way the public access vital services.

Vodafone used the report to mark one year since the launch of its 5G network in the UK, and said investment in 5G could lead to the creation of new jobs and business opportunities, as well as improve the provision of public services.

It calculated the cumulative economic benefits to UK output stand at more than £38 billion in the five years to 2025, and at more than €120 billion from then to 2030.

However, to ensure 5G delivers the maximum financial impact, the operator called on the government to make digital services central to its economic recovery plan by creating the policy, procurement and an investment environment to support faster rollout of the technology.

Nick Jeffery, CEO of Vodafone UK, said 5G will play a “vital role” as the economy recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It is crucial to recognise the role that fast and reliable connectivity will play in unlocking the digital potential that exist in every nation and region across the UK,” he said.

Vodafone’s 5G services are currently available in 44 locations across the UK.

Originally published by
Kavit Majithia | June 29, 2020
Mobile World Live

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Gold Level Contributor

Vodafone UK issues Huawei 5G warning

Vodafone UK reportedly argued the country would lose the progress made on 5G if operators were forced to rip out Huawei equipment from networks, as pressure grows on the government to ban the Chinese vendor.

Speaking to Financial Times (FT), Vodafone CTO Scott Petty said “the UK’s leadership in 5G will be lost”, if mobile operators are made to spend time and money replacing existing equipment with gear from other vendors.

His comments come as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces increasing pressure from the US and his own MPs to ban Huawei due to security concerns.

The Telegraph reported members of the UK government are pushing Johnson to set a fixed date within two months for all Huawei equipment to be removed from 5G networks.

UK shift

Huawei was cleared to supply up to 35 per cent of equipment in non-sensitive parts of 5G networks by Johnson in January.

However, after the US tightened sanctions in mid-May, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre commenced a review of the potential impact of the new restrictions on UK 5G networks.

While Petty’s claim the UK had established “leadership” in 5G is questionable, the fact remains all four of the country’s main operators have launched next-generation networks, with BT’s EE, Vodafone and 3 UK all using Huawei gear.

FT said the three companies had been upgrading their network with Huawei equipment in recent weeks, following the decision in January. Unless government policy changes, the operators are tied into the agreements.

Petty argued the government should focus on “expanding 5G coverage and developing 5G capabilities for the UK industry” rather than pushing for the removal of Huawei.

However, the company is also taking steps to plan for the future. Petty said Vodafone was working with Swedish vendor Ericsson and other suppliers to trial 5G equipment. “We are not tied to one supplier, but it is import to understand the extent of what is at stake here.”

Petty’s comments will no doubt provide a boost to Huawei, which this week commenced a media campaign defending itself against the criticism in the UK.

Originally published by
Kavit Majithia | June 10, 2020
Mobile World Live



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Gold Level Contributor

Image: Shutterstock

Huawei made a vehement public defence against criticism levelled against it in the UK, as authorities faced continued pressure to reverse a decision to allow the company to supply 5G kit to the country’s operators.

During a media call, Huawei global VP Victor Zhang said the vendor wanted to correct misinformation, including questions around its ownership, noting it is “independent from any government, including the Chinese government”.

He expressed confidence the UK would continue to take an “evidence-based approach” to its policies on operator supply chains.

Zhang pointed to Huawei as a “very transparent company” and noted the need for collaboration to mitigate general cybersecurity risks.

He also noted UK government goals of achieving improvements in fibre were already behind due to Covid-19 delays and must now be accelerated, adding full fibre and 5G would “enable economic recovery and industrial revolution”.

Alongside defending its credentials on the call, Huawei took out full-page advertisements in UK newspapers highlighting its role in operator builds of 3G and 4G networks, alongside a commitment to helping achieve government gigabit broadband goals.

The advert, positioned as a letter to the public, read: “For nearly 20 years, we’ve supplied the UK’s mobile and broadband companies with 3G and 4G. But some now question our role in helping Britain lead the way in 5G. We want you to know we are as committed as ever to providing your network operator with the best equipment so you can share photos, stream movies, get together online and much more.”

UK fight


Huawei’s public offensive comes as pressure continues to mount on the UK government to reverse a decision to allow operators to deploy Huawei equipment in non-sensitive parts of their 5G networks, subject to a 35 per cent limit.

Since then, pressure from the US for a complete ban on the vendor on security grounds continued unabated, with a number of UK politicians also wading into the issue to call for a government u-turn.

Following the announcement of tighter US restrictions on Huawei last month, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre began a fresh review into the vendor.

UK authorities are also reportedly mulling an alliance with nine other countries to pool resources to develop 5G equipment, reducing reliance on Chinese technology.

Originally published by
Chris Donkin | June 8, 2020
Mobile World Live

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Silver Level Contributor

UK looks to Huawei rivals for 5G tech

The UK government held talks with NEC about supplying 5G equipment for mobile networks, as part of a wider push to reduce the nation’s reliance on Chinese technology, Bloomberg reported.

NEC reportedly spoke to UK officials last month, with Samsung Electronics also being considered, Bloomberg wrote, citing a source.

The talks with NEC centered on introducing the Japanese company’s technology into the UK 5G market, which could commence with a trial programme dubbed 5G Create.

Samsung, which does not currently have a 5G infrastructure presence in the UK, will be invited for talks “soon”, added the source.

The UK’s Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has been handed a £200 million kitty to work on 5G trial programmes to develop mobile infrastructure.

Removing Huawei

The UK’s move to diversify its suppliers comes as it appears to have shifted its position on Huawei, five months after Prime Minister Boris Johnson cleared the Chinese vendor to supply a limited amount of 5G gear in non-sensitive parts of networks.

However, the decision led to opposition within his own party, as well as from the US, which banned the vendor from its networks on security grounds.

It also recently moved to cut off Huawei’s access to components produced overseas using domestic software and technology.

The UK government last month revealed it was reviewing Huawei’s position in light of the tightened US sanctions.

Bloomberg said the government is looking at ways to phase out Huawei in UK networks by 2023, while also exploring a range of alternative suppliers to diversify its supply chain.

In the last week, the UK government and the US Republican Senator Tom Cotton have raised the idea of establishing a coalition with allied nations to develop 5G equipment as an alternative to Chinese technology.

Huawei hit back at the fresh scrutiny, stating there was no evidence it poses a threat to security, while adding it welcomes competition in the market.

Originally published by
Kavit Majithia | June 4, 2020
Mobile World Live

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Gold Level Contributor
The digital twin will help to engage residents in the concept of a new energy system
 

The project will involve developing a demonstrator that will create a virtual 3D environment that models Orkney and the different components in its energy system from electric vehicles to generators and turbines.

The Scottish island of Orkney is using a 5G-powered digital twinning system to progress its plans towards becoming carbon-neutral.

The project is led by Heriot-Watt University’s Global Research Innovation and Discovery facility (GRID) and supported by the Scotland 5G Centre. It will involve developing a demonstrator that will create a virtual 3D environment that models Orkney and the different components in its energy system from electric vehicles and domestic batteries, to generators and turbines.

The immersive simulator system will also build a virtual dashboard, which outlines some of the energy network’s key features, and model a live 5G data connection to key assets on the island.

Foundations for 5G

The Scotland 5G Centre, which is creating the foundations for a central hub for 5G in Scotland and helping to deliver the Scottish Government’s 5G strategy, states that the use of decentralised energy networks and 5G infrastructure has largely been restricted to engineers and technology specialists because they are highly technical in nature.

The demonstrator will be used to engage members of the public on Orkney and support their understanding of what can be achieved through new energy networks and the digital control enabled by 5G.

Read more here

Originally posted by
Smart Cities World News Team, April 29, 2020
Smart Cities World

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Gold Level Contributor

A phone mast serving the new NHS Nightingale hospital in Birmingham has been hit in a suspected arson attack, as conspiracy theories linking 5G to coronavirus rage on.

The mast, providing mobile connectivity to the emergency field hospital, is among 20 suspected sabotages on phone lines to take place over the Easter weekend.

 

Although suggestions that 5G helps to spread Covid-19 have being condemned by scientists, Government and industry as “utter rubbish”, the UK has seen a spate of mast fires over the past few days.

Two 19-year-old men and an 18-year-old man were arrested on suspicion of arson after a mast was found ablaze in Dagenham.

BT chief lashes out at celebs tweeting fake news linking 5G and covid

Meanwhile, West Yorkshire Police are working with the fire service to determine the nature of mast fire in Huddersfield.

Vodafone chief executive Nick Jeffery said it was “deeply disappointing” to learn that arsonists are still attacking masts, including one serving the Nightingale hospital in Birmingham.

Read more here

Harriet Brewis, April 14, 2020
Evening Standard, UK

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Gold Level Contributor

A photograph shows the logo of Chinese company Huawei at its main U.K. offices in Reading, west of London, on January 28. In January, the British government approved Huawei to move forward with constructing a limited portion of its 5G infrastructure, despite pushback from the U.S. and some of the kingdom's conservative lawmakers.DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/GETTY

Chinese multinational telecommunications giant Huawei has published an open letter urging the United Kingdom to not reverse its position on allowing the company to build part of its 5G network.

In January, the British government approved Huawei to move forward with constructing a limited portion of its 5G infrastructure, despite pushback from the U.S. and some of the kingdom's conservative lawmakers. Under the approval agreement, the Chinese company will be allowed to build up to 35 percent of the U.K.'s network while being banned from "sensitive" portions of the new infrastructure.

But a group of conservative lawmakers have pushed back against this approval. Those critics attempted to overturn the government's decision in March, claiming that the company is an arm of China's government. Huawei has consistently pushed back against such accusations, which have also been lobbed by the U.S. The U.S. has blacklisted the company and has severely limited its ability to purchase American-made components.

"At Huawei we are focused on keeping Britain connected—the biggest contribution we can make to the U.K.'s national effort against coronavirus," Victor Zhang, vice president of Huawei, wrote in the open letter shared to the company's website on Monday.

Read more here

BY JASON LEMON ON 4/13/20
Newsweek

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