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Huawei officials lobby pollies over 5G participation Featured

Top officials of Chinese telecommunications company Huawei have written to Australian MPs and senators telling them that excluding the firm from the 5G rollout in the country would result in increased costs, an inferior service and pose a threat to the company's operations Down Under.

The Australian Financial Review reported the letter, signed by Huawei Australia chairman John Lord and directors John Brumby — a former premier of Victoria — and Lance Hockridge said: "To completely exclude Huawei from 5G in Australia means excluding Huawei from the entire Australian market and we don't believe this would be in Australia's best interest."

Last week, reports said that the Australian Government had decided to exclude Huawei from the 5G rollout altogether. Reacting to this, Lord said that the company had not been told anything by the government.

Due to the security claims being made about its operations, the company is reported to have said it was not asking to be involved in the core 5G network, but only in supplying radio antennae and switches.

This is the same model that the firm follows in the UK and Canada – in the former, a cell set up and overseen by GCHQ, the main spook agency, oversees Huawei's equipment and in Canada this is done by a third party.

The letter included a factsheet that pointed out that New Zealand, Canada and the UK had accepted an offer to evaluate Huawei's technology in order to ensure that it met the cyber security strictures in each of these countries.

It also offered to build an Australia evaluation and testing so similar assessments could be made as in the three countries listed above.

The factsheet pointed out that since it had been set up in Australia in 2004, Huawei had grown to the extent where half the Australian population depends on its technology for their daily telecommunications needs.

If Huawei is banned, this would be the second time the company, which has a presence in 170 countries, has been kept out of major projects in Australia. It was banned from bidding for contracts for Australia's national broadband network, the NBN, in 2012.

Australia also acted to prevent Huawei participating in an undersea cable project linking the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea to Sydney.

The US has put considerable pressure on Huawei, locking it out of a number of American contracts. American spy agencies have also pushed Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to keep Huawei out.

American fears about the company extend back nearly a decade with the NSA having hacked into Huawei's offices in Shenzhen in 2010, according to documents released by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the sitecame into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

 

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