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BT asks for more time to remove Huawei equipment as ban deadline approaches

Megan Robinson
June 30, 2022

Prime Minister Boris Johnson introduced a ban on Huawei components for use in British networks in 2020- calling them a ‘high-risk vendor’ following US sanctions

BT has asked for an extension to the deadline where the government has told all UK telecommunications providers to remove Huawei equipment from its networks.

UK operators have been given until January 28 2023 to remove all Huawei equipment from core networks where personal data is stored, and reduce non-core parts to 35 per cent.

The deadline for complete removal of non-core networks has been extended by six months to July 31 2023, and all Huawei 5G equipment needs to be removed by the end of 2027. 

But supply chain concerns and the impact of covid has caused delays to the removal, according to BT.

In an interview with Bloomberg, who first reported the story, BT chief technology officer Howard Watson said: “At the end of the day, not interrupting service for customers is the critical requirement here.”

BT has sent a request to the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, (DCMS) but if the request isn’t granted, it could be fined £100,000 a day for not complying with the government’s ruling.

BT released a statement saying: “We continue to liaise with DCMS and the NCSC to ensure our programme can be completed as quickly and safely as possible and remain confident that the final 2027 deadline for delivering new equipment throughout the 5G network is achievable. 

“We are continuing to work towards the proposed date of January 2023 for that work to happen in our core, but believe a short extension would be reasonable to reflect the significant, Covid-driven impacts to the programme over the past two years.

BT has nothing further to add at this stage.

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