Huawei and Chorus quiet on govt deals at Gen-i conference

Chris Quin opens event assuring audience he remains Gen-i CEO

Huawei and Chorus representatives refused to be dragged into a discussion about security at Gen-i’s ICT Conference yesterday, following concerns raised by the Australian government and the New Zealand opposition about Huawei’s alleged links to Chinese intelligence agencies.

When asked by Computerworld during a panel discussion whether Chorus’s participation of the New Zealand government’s UFB and RBI projects would be affected by any potential investigation into Huawei, both companies refused to answer.

“We’re using Huawei technology in our rural broadband build, and that’s the only place we’re using it,”

Bernard Lee, senior broadband advisor at Huawei, who was at Gen-i’s ICT conference to talk about broadband trends in Asia, said he was not allowed to comment on the situation.

“Bear in mind Huawei is the number one telecom equipment provider, so there are ways around this,” Lee said.

Asked to clarify what he meant, Lee said he was not allowed to comment further.

Last December, Huawei won a contract to provide Chorus with coarse wavelength division multiplexing equipment (CWDM) for the RBI roll out.

This technology is used to add capacity to existing fibre installations by adding multiple wavelengths of light instead of just one colour.

Last week it was revealed that the Australian government had banned Huawei from participating in its National Broadband Network project because of cyber security concerns.

The New Zealand Green Party, and the Labour Party, officially requested Prime Minister John Key to investigate Huawei’s involvement in the UFB and RBI projects, with the Green’s ICT spokesperson Gareth Hughes asking why New Zealand is using Huawei if Australia is not.

“Huawei has been blocked in both Australia and the United States over security concerns and it's hard to believe our security agencies know something about Huawei that Australia and the United States don't," says Hughes.

The Gen-i ICT roadshow this year focused on the potential of UFB use in business. The Auckland leg of the event was the last for this year. Chris Quin, who has been tipped to be the next CEO of Telecom, opened the conference by assuring the crowd he was still the CEO of Gen-i.

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