In a speech on the 28th November, Rishi Sunak said the “golden era” with China is over, stating that “China poses a systemic challenge to our values and interests.”
So, how exactly do we go about limiting China’s influence in the UK? Sunak outlined new powers under the National Security and Investment Act. He reiterated the continued drive to remove Huawei’s 5G network from the UK, making it now a legal priority, with documents having been handed to broadband and mobile operators on 13th October called the designated vendor direction.
How the removal of Huawei will unfold…
An immediate ban on the installation of new Huawei equipment in 5G networks
The removal of all Huawei equipment from the UK’s 5G public network by the end of 2027
The removal of Huawei equipment from the network core by the end of 2023
A requirement to limit Huawei access to below 35% of the full fibre network by 31 October 2023
The removal of Huawei from sites of significant national security by 28th January 2023
The contents of the vendor direction was agreed with cyber security experts at the NCSC, striking a balance between the priority to remove Huawei as quickly as possible, and avoiding network outages and disruption for customers.
Digital Secretary Michelle Donelan said, “We must have confidence in the security of our phone and internet networks which underpin so much about our economy and everyday lives…thanks to this government’s tough new laws we can drive up the security of telecoms infrastructure and control the use of high-risk equipment.”
In his speech Sunak spoke of the UK being a country that “stands up for our values, that defends democracy by actions not just words.” The government’s recent blocking of the £63m sale of UK semiconductor manufacturer into Chinese hands was the first demonstration of this, the successful removal of Huwai would be the ultimate feat.
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