It beggars belief that the UK government is planning to award a contract to Huawei, the Chinese telecoms giant, to build parts of the UK’s 5G network.
This contact is likely to be signed-off despite growing fears that the contract will enable the Chinese government to spy on people using the new 5G network.
However, the government is reported to be satisfied that the company will only build “non-core” parts of the infrastructure, such as antennas, keeping safe the information passed over it.
Digital Minister Margot James dismissed reports that a final decision had been made, saying: “in spite of Cabinet leaks to the contrary, a final decision is yet to be made on managing threats to telecoms infrastructure.”
I certainly cannot accept that there are no companies in the UK that are capable of delivering a 5G network. I do not know why a UK company has not been chosen, but it could well be that government is keen to maintain trade deals with China following Brexit (if that ever actually happens).
Yes, we do need to trade with countries around the globe, but not at any price. Even if there were no UK companies capable of delivering the new network I would suggest that at a European company should be chosen.
As embarrassing as it would be to admit that we are no longer able to build our own communications infrastructure, at least a European company would pose far fewer threats to national security than bringing in the Chinese.
If Huawei does get the contract we may as well start copying-in the Chinese government to all our emails, texts and tweets.