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)

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

BC CDC graphic showing weekly numbers of new cases by local health area.
Local health area records 11 new COVID-19 cases from Feb. 21 to 27

The Northwest has become the COVID hotspot in the province

The Smithers recycling depot was destroyed by fire May 9, 2019. (Thom Barker photo)
Curbside recycling pickup returns to Smithers

The Town will start collecting single stream, loose and clean residential recyclables April 12

Adam's Igloo sustained serious damage when the roof collapsed. (Facebook photo)
Roof collapses on Smithers landmark

Cleanup efforts underway at Adams Igloo and Wildlife Museum

Instructor and master artist Dempsey Bob (right) speaks to the crowd at the Terrace Art Gallery about the importance of cultural art on Feb. 7, 2020. Bob is a recipient of a 2021 Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts Artistic Achievement Award. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Northwest artist Dempsey Bob wins national art award

Renowned Tahltan-Tlingit master carver one of eight people to receive Governor General’s Arts Award

(Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Murder charge laid in February 2020 stabbing death of Smithers man

Michael Egenolf is charged with the second-degree murder of Brodie Cumiskey

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Grand Forks’ Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

A Cowichan Valley mom is wondering why masks haven’t been mandated for elementary schools. (Metro Creative photo)
B.C. mom frustrated by lack of mask mandate for elementary students

“Do we want to wait until we end up like Fraser Health?”

Most Read