By David Bicknell
There is an intriguing row Down Under about the Australian Government’s decision to bar the Chinese telecomms company Huawei Technologies from competing for work on its national broadband network (NBN) project.
Australia told Huawei, one of the world’s largest telecomms equipment providers, that it could not tender for NBN contracts because of security concerns about cyber attacks emanating from China.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said she regarded the NBN as a crucial national infrastructure project.
”You would expect, as a government, we would make all of the prudent decisions to make sure that infrastructure project does what we want it to do, and we’ve taken one of those decisions,” she said, when asked about the Huawei decision at the ongoing nuclear security talks in Seoul.
The Australian Opposition said it regarded the government’s decision to ban Huawei from taking part in tenders as ”clumsy, offensive and unprofessional”.
Huawei’s spokesman Jeremy Mitchell said Australia was still getting used to privately owned Chinese companies, but Huawei would not give up on tendering for NBN projects, which are being managed by the Australian government-owned NBN Co Ltd.
”We’re not used to companies coming from China that are leading in technology and also global – 70 per cent of our work is outside of China,” Mr Mitchell said. “We see this as a setback. We’re obviously disappointed. But through looking at what we’ve done overseas, looking at what we’ve done in the United Kingdom, we can put in place measures that help the Australian government consider us as a partner in the NBN.”
Australian Financial Review: China’s Huawei banned from NBN
BBC Business News: China’s Huawei barred from Australia broadband deal