Huawei will not build NBN in Australia

26 March 2012 | Kavit Majithia


The Australian government has reportedly banned equipment vendor Huawei from participating in a tender to build the country’s National Broadband Network (NBN).

Citing security concerns, government officials told the Chinese company as early as last year “not to bother” trying to secure contracts for the build out, and the message was reiterated on Sunday.

“The National Broadband Network is the largest nation-building project in Australian history, and it will become the backbone of Australia’s information infrastructure,” said the attorney-general’s office. “As such, and as a strategic and significant government investment, we have a responsibility to do our utmost to protect its integrity and that of the information carried on it.”

The Australian government also noted its concerns over increasing cyber attacks coming in from China, and nationally, Australia remains wary of China’s growing military prowess.

Huawei has faced similar difficulties in securing contracts for infrastructure build out in the US. The company has dominated much of the European market, and it has secured lucrative contracts with several of the world’s largest operators. Australia’s NBN, considering the size of the project, will be a significant missing link in the company’s wider portfolio, but Huawei confirmed yesterday it will still invest in the country.

“We are of course disappointed that we have so far failed to win a contract, but even if we cannot participate in NBN at all, this will not stop us from expanding in Australia, Jeremy Mitchell, Huawei’s spokesman in Australia told television sources.

Suspicions over Huawei’s operations stem largely from the fact its founder and chief executive, Ren Zhengfei, was an officer in the People’s Liberation Army, and the company remains secretive about its total ownership.