No ‘Specific Timetable’ on Huawei Involvement in Canada’s 5G Network, Says Public Safety Minister

The word’s still out on whether Huawei will support Canada’s upcoming 5G network.

According to a new report from CBC, there’s still no timetable as to whether Huawei will be allowed to participate in Canada’s 5G network expansion.

“I think there are some complex economic and security issues that need to be addressed,” said newly-sworn in Public Safety Minister Bill Blair. “And it will be a priority when we come back to government and when cabinet meets to examine those issues and make that decision. I don’t have a specific timetable at this time.”

Blair’s predecessor previously mentioned that there would be a decision made on the matter after the election, and that more information was needed from the United States as to whether Huawei posed a serious security threat to Canada’s wireless network.

The matter is further complicated by ongoing political disputes between Canada and China, including the matter of two Canadian civilians being held in prison without charges. The prisoners — Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig — were arrested by Chinese authorities shortly after the RCMP arrested Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver on an American extradition warrant.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if a decision has been made [on Huawei] but we’re waiting on our allies,” said Stephanie Carvin, a former analyst for CSIS and an assistant professor of international affairs at Carleton University.

“For me, it’s bigger than Huawei, though,” continued Carvin. “After Huawei, there’s going to be something more. As our physical infrastructure is increasingly becoming attached to our digital infrastructure, this is going to keep happening. So we need to figure out how the government deals with this from an economic national security standpoint.”

A number of Canada’s “Five-Eyes” intelligence-sharing allies, including the United States and Australia, have taken measures to prevent Huawei’s involvement in their respective countries’ wireless telecommunications network.

5G is the next generation of mobile broadband that will eventually replace, or at least augment, your 4G LTE connection. With 5G, you’ll see exponentially faster download and upload speeds. Latency, or the time it takes devices to communicate with each other wireless networks, will also drastically decrease.