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Huawei: We're Gung-Ho On NBN, DESPITE Ban

By Oonagh Reidy | Monday | 02/04/2012

Chinese giant Huawei are fighting against NBN ban insisting they're not going anywhere.

Last week it emerged the Federal Government banned the Chinese network giant from pursuing lucrative NBN contracts on the back of fears of espionage and cyber attacks sponsored by Chinese authorities, which has strong links to Huawei.

This snub by the Attorney General's office was despite lengthy discussions over two years, Huawei Australia's chairman John Lord told ABC Inside Business yesterday.

"We were told then that - at this time that the Government could not see a role for us in NBN"- referring to Huawei's "ongoing discussions" with the government.

Read: Huawei Begs NBN Mercy On Cyber War Fears

The discussions came to sudden halt towards the end of last year, Lord, a retired rear admiral in the Royal Australian Navy, added.

Incidentally, President Obama paid a visit to Oz in November last, which reports have suggested may have been responsible for tipping Julia Gillard off about US reservations regarding the Chinese company, which has also been prevented from working on wireless network rollout there.

And despite the ban by the government, Huawei refuses to admit defeat and insists there is still a role for them to play on the $36 billion National Broadband Network, whose three year plan, revealed last week, aims to connect 3.5 million premises by June 2015.

"We would still argue that there's parts of the NBN that are perhaps suitable," Lord said yesterday. "Having said that, NBN's not the only game in town.

"Our future in Australia is long term. We're here to stay and we believe there's bigger markets."

The company also even offered source codes to the Federal government in a bid to quench suspicion around the existance of a spying network, whcih would pose a threat to national security.

Lord also said the company recognises the government's argument and "there is core parts of the national infrastructure that companies like us would not expect to be in, [but] what hangs off a national telecommunications infrastructure is where the real market is in the future," he added.

"Cyber security is a global threat and it's a threat to us as manufacturers of telecommunications infrastructure, it's a threat to governments, it's a threat to private corporations."

There are several other political appointees on Huawei Australia's Board of Directors including former Victoria Premier John Brumby.

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