Australia blocks China's Huawei from broadband tender

Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:38am EDT
 
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By Maggie Lu-YueYang

CANBERRA (Reuters) - Australia has blocked China's Huawei Technologies Co Ltd HWT.UL from tendering for contracts in the country's $38 billion National Broadband Network (NBN) due to cyber security concerns, Huawei said on Monday.

"We were informed by the government that there is no role for Huawei in Australia's NBN," said Jeremy Mitchell, a spokesman in Australia for Huawei, the world's No. 2 telecommunications equipment maker.

NBN is a huge project that aims to connect 93 percent of Australian homes and workplaces with optical fibre, providing broadband services in urban and regional areas. It was created in 2009 by the Australian government with committed investment of up to $38 billion and is expected to be ready by 2020.

The Australian Financial Review said in a report earlier on Monday that Huawei was seeking to secure a supply contract worth up to A$1 billion ($1.04 billion) with NBN, but has been blocked by the Attorney-General's department based on advice from Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO).

When asked to comment on the report, a spokesman for Attorney-General Nicola Roxon said in a statement: "This is consistent with the government's practice for ensuring the security and resilience of Australia's critical infrastructure more broadly."

The government does not intend to comment on specific discussions with companies, which are confidential, he added.

The ASIO declined to comment on the report.

On the sidelines of a nuclear security summit in South Korea, Prime Minister Julia Gillard told reporters the government had made a prudent decision on NBN contract tenders.   Continued...

 
A logo of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. is seen at the 13th China Hi-Tech Fair in Shenzhen, Guangdong province November 16, 2011. REUTERS/Stringer