For many years I’ve been talking to Australian businesses and governments of the world class technology coming from Asia, and particularly China.
Traditionally, Australia has purchased its personal and industrial technology from suppliers based in the USA or Europe and we grew comfortable with the quality of the technology, the like-minded business practices and the assumption these were the only sources of leading technologies.
Australia had long given up on manufacturing its own ICT equipment other than in niche areas, to the stage where in 2016 the Australia China Business Council noted that over 50% of our ICT equipment came from China. Cyber security wasn’t a high priority initially but more and more in recent years it has become such, and rightly so.
The dominance of the USA and Europe is no longer the case and Asia is now home to leading, reliable and affordable technologies that are connecting the world. One such company developing this cutting edge technology is Huawei.
Huawei is the largest telecommunications infrastructure supplier in the world and Australia’s largest supplier of wireless technology, connecting 16 million phones and devices to mobile broadband and phone services on the Vodafone and Optus 4G networks. In fact, Huawei’s road to 4G success began in Perth when it launched Australia’s first 4G wireless broadband network with Kerry Stokes’ then company Vividwireless in March 2010.
Now more than half the Australian population use Huawei every day for their daily telecommunications needs. This competition amongst the world’s leading technology providers has given all Australians cheaper telecommunications services and networks.
Huawei’s technology has supported the Sydney Metro train network for close to ten years, powered Australia’s largest private 4G network in the Cooper Basin, and helped connect the NSW Ambulance Service. Huawei has delivered smart campus solutions at universities, a smart stadium solution on the Gold Coast in Queensland and has been a major player in the Australian telecommunications landscape for 15 years.
In Western Australia, our 40 full-time staff help build Vodafone’s and Optus’ regional mobile networks across the state and support the mining sector with world leading IT solutions.
The Public Transport Authority’s (PTA) decision last year to select Huawei to upgrade the Perth metro train radio communications solution has received a lot of attention. We welcome the opportunity to have a fact-based discussion about our advanced technology and cyber security credentials.
Wrongly or rightly, as a Chinese company we know the security bar is set higher for us. Every day, around the world, Huawei works with security agencies, telecommunications operators and businesses to build safer and more secure telecommunications networks and IT equipment. Unlike other IT vendors, Huawei has always been willing to have its equipment independently tested and assessed. We know we are the most poked, prodded and audited company on the planet and we are proud to say after 30 years of operation not a single operator has experienced a security issue with Huawei equipment. The third of the global population we serve and the 45 leading telecom operators we supply worldwide testify to the company’s high cyber security standards and reliability.
I respect and admire the Western Australian Government and the PTA for their focus on security throughout the Radio Systems Replacement project tender process Security was a key element of the tender and they gathered the best information possible from State and Commonwealth agencies, and private security experts, before awarding the contract.
The cyber security requirements contained in the PTA tender were some of the most stringent Huawei has responded to anywhere in the world. The PTA conducted an exhaustive due diligence and assessment process including speaking to Huawei customers across the world and grilling our executives and security experts.
We met all of the PTA’s exacting demands because we know good security is good business. Before we submitted our tender we sought confirmation from the Federal Government that there were no issues if we were to be successful. The WA Government rightly also received their own advice and clearances from the relevant Federal agencies. After winning the contract, Huawei received further confirmation from the Home Affairs Minister’s Office and the Prime Minister’s Office that Huawei was very welcome to participate in the PTA project in Western Australia.
The PTA contract will provide local jobs and will include equipment provided from a cross-section of local and global companies. We know we will be scrutinised every step of the way as we deliver the contract and look forward to delivering leading technology that WA can be proud of.
John Lord AM