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World needs to work together to keep ‘high-risk’ vendors like Huawei out of 5G infra, says US FCC chair Ajit Pai

Ajit Pai

The world needs to work together to secure its 5G communications networks, keeping "high-risk" vendors out of them, Ajit Pai, chair of the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), said. Pai signalled towards the formation of a global alliance against the use of equipment from such vendors — all of which are Chinese — to ensure the security of 5G infrastructure. He was speaking at CyFy 2020, an annual conference organised by the think tank Observer Research Foundation (ORF), on Friday. Pai noted that companies building 5G networks across the world have an economic incentive to address security concerns and find alternatives to high-risk vendors. "Long-term costs of using insecure equipment are likely to outweigh any short-term savings. Making the right choices early on in the planning of network architecture and deployment is much easier, and ultimately much cheaper, than trying to correct mistakes once network construction and operation is underway," he said. This reasoning has also been used by Australia, which was one of the first countries to pull the plug on Huawei in 2018. The FCC chairperson noted that most of the world's equipment used in 5G networks currently comes from Huawei. "This has raised concerns, especially because Chinese laws subject to its jurisdiction to comply with requests from the country's intelligence services." The US government's suspicions regarding Huawei are well documented. Last year, it added Huawei and ZTE to its "entity list", acting on years of reports from its intelligence agencies about Chinese spying. This effectively banned American companies…

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