Small BC Town Lac La Hache Teams with Huawei for Internet Despite Extradition Feud

Despite the ongoing extradition feud between Canada and China regarding Huawei’s CFO, the Chinese telecom continues to move forward with business in the country.

Huawei Canada has announced it has partnered with Vancouver-based ABC Communications to trial the Chinese company’s next-generation Massive MIMO Rural Broadband System, in small-town Lac La Hache, British Columbia, located a 482-kilometre drive northeast of Vancouver.

Huawei is funding the trial, being implemented by ABC Communications. Download speeds are expected to reach up to 100 Mbps, which is double to quadruple of what residents are currently getting, according to Bloomberg.

Massive MIMO leverages multiple antennas together to boost signals and efficiency, a setup said to be used in next-generation 5G networks.

“That kind of speed for a lot of areas around here is unheard of,” said Al Richmond, Cariboo Regional District Vice-Chair, representing the nearly 900 residents in Lac La Hache, in an interview with Bloomberg.

Huawei Technologies CEO, Eric Li, said in a press release, “For internet service providers, Massive MIMO is a low-cost solution to deploy services in rural and remote communities. For consumers, homes connected to Massive MIMO technology will experience fewer latency issues and are capable of higher download and upload speeds.”

As for the origins of retirement town’s name, Lac La Hache?

Lac La Hache, or “The Lake of the Axe” as it translates to, was originally named after the unfortunate incident of a fur trapper losing his axe in the lake. It is a town rich in history, as it sits right along the Gold Rush Trail.

The federal government is undergoing a security review of 5G networks and Huawei, and is expected to announce at some point whether the Chinese company will be banned or not, amid pressure from Canadian allies. Huawei is accused of being an espionage threat with its ties to the Chinese Communist Party.

The United States currently is seeking extradition of Huawei’s CFO, who currently is on bail in Vancouver. Federal Justice Minister David Lametti has until March 1, 2019, to decide whether to proceed with the U.S. extradition request.

Richmond added “If this equipment works, it will be a new dawn for rural British Columbians — an opportunity for economic development where people can work from home,” noting the new development was “exciting”.