The longstanding commercial relationship between BT and Huawei is being investigated by parliament’s intelligence and security committee, its chairman Sir Malcolm Rifkind has confirmed to the Guardian.
In a move that could cause disruption to major broadband and mobile phone infrastructure projects in the UK should security fears be raised about Huawei’s equipment, the committee is “reviewing the whole presence of Huawei in regard to our critical national infrastructure and whether that should give rise for concern”.
The committee has been taking evidence in private for some months from members of the security services, and is considering whether to make some of its findings and recommendations public. A report will be sent to David Cameron before Christmas.
“In the background are allegations that Huawei has links to the People’s Liberation Army in China, and that any Chinese company is ultimately subject to the Chinese government,” said Rifkind.
Huawei is a supplier to BT, which gave the Chinese company its first big contract in western Europe in 2005, using its equipment to modernise its copper broadband service. Huawei is now a big supplier to BT’s national rollout of fibre-optic broadband, one of the largest infrastructure projects under way in the UK. Its equipment has also been used to build the 4G network being launched at the end of this month by EE, the owner of Orange and T-Mobile, and other clients include TalkTalk, Vodafone and BSkyB.
We at G Spice Consulting feel that this is a witch hunt, whilst Huawei do have questionable business practices (mainly due to the differences in Financial Governance in China) the accusations levelled are at present unfounded, and as most industry insiders will know even US Manufacturer Cisco has back doors into it’s equipment. The issue for the US and indeed Europe is that Huawei and ZTE are now so dominant oin their respective Telecom markets that to chose an alternative means losing competitive advantage in the current challenging marketplace.
For the full story by Juliette Gartside on the guardian site see here