Telecom companies in Britain face hefty fines if they fail to comply with strict new security rules under a new law proposed in Parliament on Tuesday.
The new law is aimed at blocking high-risk equipment suppliers like China’s Huawei.
The Telecommunications (Security) Bill tightens security requirements for new high speed 5G wireless and fiber optic networks, with the threat of fines of up to 100,000 pounds ($134,000) a day for companies that don’t follow the rules.
The bill paves the way for the U.K. government to formalize into law Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision in July prohibiting Huawei from building Britain’s 5G mobile phone networks because of security concerns.
The British government said it was bringing in the ban – reversing an earlier plan to give Huawei a limited role – because U.S. sanctions made it impossible to ensure the security of its networking gear. Wireless carriers were also ordered to rip out any existing Huawei 5G equipment from their networks by 2027. The Chinese company is one of the flashpoints in a broader global battle between Washington and Beijing over trade and technology.
The new rules are a major step to protecting the U.K. from hostile cyber activity by state actors or criminals, the government said, citing previous cyberattacks attributed to Russia, China, North Korea and Iran.
The bill, which needs to be approved by Parliament, spells out tougher security standards for the electronic equipment and software at mobile phone mast sites and in telephone exchanges that handle internet traffic and telephone calls.