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

Okanagan Mascot Games returning to Penticton this July

HarVee and the Vancouver Canucks’ Fin are among the 24 mascots coming to the South Okanagan

Interior Health appoints administrator at Summerland Seniors Village

Numerous concerns raised about private seniors care facility

Penticton seeking additional downtown input on potential cycling routes

The City has narrowed down the choices to two options and wants public input before deciding

Breaking: Penticton woman pleads guilty to manslaughter of boyfriend

Kiera Bourque pleaded guilty in a Penticton courtroom on Monday

Long-time winemaker retires after 14 years in Oliver

Robert Summers joined the Hester Creek Estate Winery team in 2006.

Okanagan rescue team comes back home from Australian mission

Brad Pattison’s team spent 33 days rescuing wildlife

Kelowna mayor to request RCMP’s ‘unfounded’ sexual assault report

RCMP said the report was completed over a month ago but have yet to release it or make a statement

Criminality not suspected in Ellison trailer fire death

The body was discovered after crews responded to reports of a house fire

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

Kelowna youth accused of killing 16-year-old released

The young woman was arrested on Feb. 21 and is facing one charge of manslaughter

Man arrested following suspicious trailer fire in Kelowna

Reports came in about the fire at approximately 11:45 a.m. on Monday morning

Body discovered following vehicle fire on Kelowna property

Firefighters discovered a body in a home on Anderson Road

‘Please be quiet,’ Kelowna Mayor tells sexual assault survivor protesting in council chambers

Forty per cent of sexual assaults reported to Kelowna RCMP in 2019 were deemed ‘unfounded’

Salmon Arm boy is only Para-Nordic athlete at BC Winter games

Thirteen-year-old Kaden Baum competed in three races on his sit-ski at the games.

Most Read