Huawei: what does Boris Johnson's 5G decision mean?

28 January 2020, 12:56

Boris Johnson has made the decision to allow Huawei to play a "limited" role in the UK's 5G network. Theo Usherwood explains what this means.

Theo Usherwood, LBC's political editor, explained the decision to allow Huawei to build part of the 5G network.

The calculation inside No. 10 is that, in a decades time, 5G would ensure a high speed network that can bring about driverless cars, machines for the NHS and high speed internet connectivity.

Theo explained that No. 10 thinks it is "worth annoying and incurring the wrath of the Americans ahead of Brexit trade deal negotiations in order to achieve that".

There are important caveats in today's announcement.

Firstly, Huawei has links to the Chinese government and that is why there has been concern from the White House and backbenchers of the Conservative party. Sensitive data from the US, for example, could be shared.

Theo explained another concern. If in 2035 the whole economy relies on 5G, Chinese hacking could bring the whole economy to a halt.

The supporters of this decision, explained Theo, think that they can manage the security risk and argue that Huawei is the only firm that at the moment who has the technology to build the antennae needed to introduce the 5G infrastructure.

If we were to not use Huawei, that could delay the implementation 5G.

The British Government and Boris Johnson have said that Huawei won't be able to build "sensitive, core parts of the network".

Huawei: what does Boris Johnson's 5G decision mean?
Huawei: what does Boris Johnson's 5G decision mean? Picture: PA

They'll be limited to 35 per cent of the non-sensitive parts of the network, won't be able to build data stations and won't be able to build antennae around military sites, nuclear power stations and other sensitive areas.

Theo shared that at a GCHQ briefing a few months ago, it was believed by them that they could manage the security risk.

Tom Tugenhadt, on the other hand, is warning that this could cause massive problems in the future.

You can watch the full clip at the top of the article.