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

Lairds mark landmark 65th anniversary this summer

Love story endures the test of time and not defeated by COVID pandemic

Many reasons motorists need to slow down

Construction, back to school, people walking dogs, riding bikes all factors

Kernachan’s cartoon flashback 2018

Wildfire smoke comes in handy for other purposes

Clean air can’t be taken for granted

Wildfires are a major concern to our daily lives when conditions don’t clear the smoke

Logjams and gravel bars the bane of Chemainus River’s existence

Spawning fish impacted by low channels, residents by flood concerns

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Comox Valley protesters send message over old-growth logging

Event in downtown Courtenay was part of wider event on Friday

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

Most Read