Mobile operators in the UK are set to be fined £100,000 a day if they fail to comply with new legislation that bans the use of Huawei equipment in 5G networks.
The UK government will confirm the penalties in a draft of the Telecommunications Bill set to be presented to parliament later today that will enshrine in legislation the measures announced earlier this year.
In July, the government reversed its policy following pressure from the US and banned all mobile operators from purchasing new Huawei 5G radio products after 2020. Operators will also be required to remove any Huawei kit from their networks by 2027.
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Huawei UK 5G ban
The decision was made despite the absence of any evidence, while Huawei denies any allegations of wrongdoing. The government itself admits it expects the ban to delay 5G rollout by up to three years and add £2 billion of additional costs to operators who fear a lack of choice will reduce innovation.
It will tell the Commons the bill will safeguard Britain’s digital infrastructure, adding that Ofcom will be responsible for monitoring and enforcing the measures outlined.
“We are investing billions to roll out 5G and gigabit broadband across the country, but the benefits can only be realised if we have full confidence in the security and resilience of our networks,” said Digital secretary Oliver Dowden.
“This groundbreaking bill will give the UK one of the toughest telecoms security regimes in the world and allow us to take the action necessary to protect our networks.”
Huawei had previously expressed its hope the UK would reconsider its actions following Donald Trump’s defeat in the US election. However, this now appears not to be the case.
Huawei Vice President, Victor Zhang, said: ‘’It’s disappointing that the Government is looking to exclude Huawei from the 5G roll out. This decision is politically-motivated and not based on a fair evaluation of the risks. It does not serve anyone’s best interests as it would move Britain into the digital slow lane and put at risk the Government’s levelling up agenda.”
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