Australia Pressures Solomon Islands To Drop Huawei Equipment

Australia successfully pressured the Solomon Islands to drop Huawei from its list of Internet infrastructure suppliers, having agreed to largely finance an undersea high-speed cable connecting it to the country, with the new development being announced shortly after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull met with political leaders from South Pacific in London earlier this week. Canberra is understood to be worried about losing its influence in the region to China, with Huawei being by far the largest technology company in the Far Eastern country. Papua New Guinea will also be connected via the same cable and will contribute to the project financially together with the Solomon Islands, though Australia is understood to be covering the majority of related expenses, with the installation of the cable being set to be completed by 2019.

The Solomon Islands initially approached the Asian Development Bank to finance the project whose value was estimated to be in the ballpark of $70 million but later announced Huawei will be the one to pay for the cable. ADB then withdrew its support of the buildout, citing a lack of transparency. Australia and its allies — the United States, in particular — are worried about the security implications of Huawei's equipment that they believe is either being leveraged by Beijing to spy on other countries or could be abused in such a manner going forward due to the high level of influence China exerts on its companies, even those which aren't formally state-owned. A number of U.S. intelligence chiefs were recently warning Australia against relying on Huawei for any kind of infrastructural deployment, especially in the context of the fifth generation of mobile networks.

Huawei has already been banned from launching infrastructural tender bids in Australia in 2012 but managed to maintain a presence in the country to date, largely through partnerships with privately owned wireless carriers. The tech giant is presently facing scrutiny on a global level, with Washington publicly warning its allies against using Huawei-made equipment due to spying concerns that the Chinese firm repeatedly dismissed as baseless, claiming it's running its business independently of Beijing.

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Dominik Bosnjak

Head Editor
Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016 and is the Head Editor of the site today. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]
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