The government may order telecoms companies to begin removing Huawei-made 5G equipment as early as this year, following a critical assessment of the firm by GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the Daily Telegraph reported on Saturday.
The NCSC assessment, due to be presented to the prime minister this week, reportedly finds that the risks of using Huawei equipment can no longer be safely managed due to new export controls imposed by the United States.
The US brought in new regulatory measures in May aimed at cutting off Huawei’s access to semiconductor manufacturers outside the country that use US-made software or equipment.
The new NCSC report reportedly finds that the sanctions will force Huawei to use untrusted technology that could make the risk impossible to control.
The sanctions have had a “severe” impact on Huawei, the NCSC reportedly said.
If accurate, the findings would be a dramatic shift from the agency’s earlier position that any security risk could be managed.
As a result of the NCSC’s latest report, the government is reportedly drawing up plans to halt the installation of new Huawei 5G equipment in as little as six months and to speed up the removal of existing Huawei 5G gear.
The government is also reportedly examining the ramifications of the NCSC’s report on other Huawei gear apart from 5G technology.
British mobile phone network operators have previously said barring Huawei 5G equipment would cost them billions of pounds and would create a significant delay in the UK’s deployment of next-generation networks.
The company has been involved in building UK mobile networks for the past two decades.
The US argues that Huawei poses a national security threat, something Huawei denies.
“Huawei is the most scrutinised vendor in the world and we firmly believe our unrivalled transparency in the UK means we can continue to be trusted to play a part in Britain’s gigabit upgrade,” the company said in a statement.
“It’s important to focus on facts and not to speculate at this time.”
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