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UK telecom firms warn of blackouts if Huawei banned

A rainy London with Big Ben in the background

BT and Vodafone, two of the biggest telecom firms in the UK, have warned that customers in the country could face blackouts if they’re forced to remove Huawei products from their networks over national security concerns. The comments come after the issue of Huawei was raised yet again over the weekend.

While Boris Johnson has been hesitant to kick Huawei out of the 5G networks entirely, he has said that their involvement should be limited and that the country would encourage more competition in the sector to remove dependence on a particular company. Backbench Conservative MPs, however, have been more hawkish and called for the UK government to meet U.S. demands of removing the company from the networks.

Speaking to MPs, network executives said that they would want at least five years, or ideally seven years, to remove Huawei equipment if they were asked to do so. Historically, network providers have been frosty to the idea of booting Huawei from their networks and even said that the rollout of 5G could be set back by more than a year and cause costs to go up for customers.

Andrea Dona, Vodafone UK’s head of networks said the following to MPs:

“[Customers] would lose their signal, sometimes for a couple of days, depending on how big or how intrusive the work to be carried out is. I would say a five-year transition time would be the minimum.”

Huawei has tried to reassure the UK over its involvement in networks claiming that it would never act against its clients’ interests, even refusing to hand over data if asked to by the Chinese government. According to the BBC, the government is due to come to a new decision on the company’s position within the country in a matter of weeks.

Source: BBC News

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