UK 5G rollout may face a delay amidst security concerns, according to the Culture Secretary.

Speaking to lawmakers, Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright said that he would not compromise security over the economic benefit of using low-cost 5G infrastructure kit.

“There is certainly the possibility of a delay in the process of the rollout of 5G: If you want to do 5G fastest then you do that without any consideration for security.

But we are not prepared to do that. So I don’t exclude the possibility that there will be some delay. The primary intention of this process is to get the security of the network right.”

While he is unable to say the publication date of the report into network security, Wright said he hoped it would “not be too long from now”.

5G and Huawei probe

A leaked report last week from the National Security Council (NSC) implied that Huawei would only be allowed to provide equipment for “non-core” 5G infrastructure in the UK.

The Chinese company has faced pervasive resistance from ministers who favoured a total ban on all its equipment.

The statement of Wright came after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that he will be failing to act like Margaret Thatcher if he allows Huawei to take an in an important role in the UK 5G rollout.

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He reiterated warnings that allowing the “state-controlled” company to provide essential 5G infrastructure in the UK could disrupt intelligence sharing between the two countries.

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“China steals intellectual property for military purposes. It wants to dominate AI, space technology, ballistic missiles, and many other areas.

Why would anyone grant such power to a regime that has already grossly violated cyberspace?”

He also said,

What can Her Majesty’s government do to make sure sensitive technologies don’t become open doors for Beijing’s spymasters? Insufficient security will impede the United States’ ability to share certain information within trusted networks.

This is just what China wants – to divide western alliances.”

What is UK 5G rollout?

UK 5G rollout may face a delay

5G has long been touted as a game changer as it can significantly increase the responsiveness, coverage, and speed of wireless networks.

It is said to be 10-100 times faster than current cellular data connection. It is even faster than the internet connection that a physical fibre optic cable provides. Stuttering is also lower than Wi-Fi.

Sources: Tech Radar, Reuters