UK lawmakers warn Huawei 5G may need to be banned earlier
LONDON (AP) - A committee of UK lawmakers is calling on the government to consider banning Chinese tech giant Huawei from next-generation cellular networks two years ahead of schedule.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government in July prevented Huawei from playing a role in building the country's new 5G networks amid security concerns amid mounting tensions between Beijing and Western powers. UK wireless carriers are banned from purchasing Huawei network devices, but they will have to remove Huawei devices that they have already installed on the new networks by 2027.
Parliament's Defense Committee said in its 5G security report released on Thursday that while the 2027 deadline made sense to avoid signal dropouts, delays and additional costs, it warned that the government may need to act faster.
"Should allies continue to press for a faster deportation, or should China's threats and global position change so much that this is justified, the government should consider whether deportation is feasible and economical by 2025," the report said the 5G rollout and economically damaging the UK and mobile network operators. "
The report also accused Huawei of collaborating with China's "Communist Party apparatus", although it did not go into details. The company denied the allegations, based on expert testimony about its property, government subsidies, and China's national intelligence agency law, which compelled companies to help with espionage.
"This report is not credible as it is based on opinions rather than facts," Huawei said in a statement. The company noted that Huawei played a key role in building previous generations of UK cellular networks and should continue to be part of the 5G rollout. "Huawei's restriction will put the UK on the slow track, widen the digital divide and likely drive the bills up."
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