Australian government intends to launch a massive national broadband project which will clock at $37.5 billion. A lot of companies had been gearing up to actively bid on the project and have their chances tested. However, the Chinese giant Huawei won’t be able to do so as it has been banned by the Australian government for security reasons.
According to sources, NBN Co., the government corporation which is implementing this project, had no problem with Huawei and was willing to let it bid. However, the government refused to allow that. Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard did comment on the project without directly stating the reasons for this ban, ‘The National Broadband Network (NBN) is a huge infrastructure project… and you would expect that as a government we would make all of the prudent decisions to make sure that that infrastructure project does what we want it to do and we’ve taken one of those decisions.’
The main contention, it has been told, of the Australian government is that a number of cyber-attacks have been coming from China, some of them even allegedly supported by the Chinese government. Although no direct proof involves the Chinese regime with these attacks, this has been stated as the chief reason for banning Huawei.
Huawei, on the other hand, responded very coolly to the banning and the implicit allegations. According to director of corporate affairs at Huawei Australia, Jeremy Mitchell, Huawei was already actively involved in building broadband networks in many countries including Britain, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia. According to Mitchell, the company was ‘on track to become the world’s largest telecoms equipment vendor’ and that ‘You don’t get to that level of success unless you have customers that trust your company, your staff, and your technology.’
Huawei, and certain other Asian vendors, have faced scrutiny due to security risks when bidding for broadband and telecom projects in the West, especially in Australia.