back to article Huawei banned from Australia’s NBN: reports

Australia’s media is swarming around the latest National Broadband Network (NBN) scandal, with the government confirming that Chinese vendor Huawei has been told not to submit tenders for the project. The ban emerged in the Australian Financial Review, which reported that the company was given the bad news in December. The …


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  1. tkioz

    Downer has about as much credibility as a dead donkey when it comes to security.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      lots of doubt

      A bit like trusting the banks, they might not have done anything criminal...... But there is plenty of doubt about how legitimate their working practices are.

    2. Pantelis


      Downer has about as much credibility as a dead donkey when it comes to anything as far as I am concerned...

    3. Big-nosed Pengie

      I'd trust the CIA before I'd trust anything to do with that bastard!

  2. Mondo the Magnificent

    The China Syndrome again?

    China, hotbed of technology manufacturing!

    It also seems to be the hotbed of patent/intellectual property violations, reverse engineering and hacking of Western government institutions.

    It has an iron fisted government that turns a blind eye to intellectual property infringements, low paid workers and also censors what their general public can and cannot access via the international media and Internet.

    Would you trust a Chinese company who's CEO, Ren Zhengfei was a Major in the People's Liberation Army (PLA) where he served as a military technologist to supply a national broadband network?

    I wouldn't...

    1. Lars Silver badge

      Re: The China Syndrome again?

      I wouldn't...

      I wouldn't...either just now.

    2. Charles Manning

      Tin foil

      So who do you really, really, trust?

      If it is made in USA, then the NSA/CIA might get their grubby paws on it.

      Anyway, the kit will probably end up being made in China any way with lots of opportunity to be fitted with back-doors etc.

      Huawei is an emerging global leader in telecom. The last thing they would want to do is to risk future business by being caught out snooping.

      Ultimately this is lust pandering to the xenophobic Great Unwashed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Tin foil

        To be honest, I would trust the US even less.

        And neither do most other people, as the US's failing cloud services companies are finding out to their detrement.

      2. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
        Big Brother

        Re: Tin foil

        Ultimately this is lust pandering to the xenophobic Great Unwashed.

        Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.

        Rather aptly, that line is from "Territorial Pissings" by Nirvana

      3. FutureShock999


        If you think that Huawei cares about market share when missiles get fired in the Taiwan Straight, then you are incredibly naive. The chance that then, and only then, backdoors become active on a percentage of switches and routers supplied by Huawei to snoop on confidential comms is simply too great.

        Why do I think this? Because frankly the massive amount of e-espionage being sourced from China can only be the result of a central plan, at least endorsed tacitly by the Chinese government, if not funded in large part. Countries need to be judged on their actions, and appropriate measures taken. This is one.

    3. Mike Richards

      Re: The China Syndrome again?

      'Would you trust a Chinese company who's CEO, Ren Zhengfei was a Major in the People's Liberation Army (PLA) where he served as a military technologist to supply a national broadband network?'

      The technological geniuses at BT thought Huawei were just splendid. And I'm sure they'd never do anything that would affect the security of their users.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The China Syndrome again?

      I would trust him actually, most likely well trained and disciplined, more than I can say about most CEO's I've met...

  3. Mussie (Ed)

    Personal Experience

    If their broad band sucks as much as thier phones this is a good thing

    1. Alain

      How good is their gear nowadays really?

      I really wonder. Back in 2000 or so I was working for an ISP in a S-E Asian country and Huawei was trying hard to sell us dial-up access routers (ADSL was unknown there at that time).

      We were using very expensive Cisco gear that wasn't flawless either, but the evaluation boxes brought by a handful of "engineers" they had sent to us were really pathetic wannabe copies. They looked like hand-made prototypes and the software had a very incomplete but servile imitation of IOS' command-line interface.

      Their boxes were crashing like hell, needing constant power cycles. I don't think any has never been put in production, despite their being less than 1/4 of the price of the Cisco routers.

      And the "engineers" :-) ... they really looked like they were coming right from some remote rural area in China. Not speaking a single word of English of course (many people speak Chinese in this country I was living in, so that wasn't so big a problem). Didn't have a clue, really.

      I see Huawei gaining big markets nowadays, so I presume they've gone a long way since then.

      1. JetSetJim
        Black Helicopters

        Re: How good is their gear nowadays really?

        Certainly in the 2005 time frame, the engineers I met were very proficient. Huawei is seen as a good employer and they have attracted quite a lot of talent to their ranks. Yes, there are possibly some duff ones in the mix, but their policy (or so I was informed) of making staff pay for their training if they fail the exam at the end would probably weed them out quite quickly. They are sharp operators though, their product release cycle seemed to be "just get it out the door, warts and all - we can throw support engineers at it later as we've got loads of them". Perhaps they've gotten better at that since then, but I suspect not - bad form to use your customers as a test platform....

        It's not surprising that they're being blocked in a variety of places (USA and India don't like them, too, IIRC, and there've been mutterings in London about sticking them at the heart of BTs broadband network). Not sure it's justified, though - given China's employee churn rate, I'd have expected some better evidence than politician-posturing to have turned up by now, probably in the form of a manual...

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Personal Experience

      I've heard a few years ago that their devices are acutally quite good. Combine that with a still cheap labour base for qualified and unqualified workers plus the financial power of China behind all of it.

      Their kit can't be crap, because even cheap stuff which breaks all the time is more expensive to operate than expensive but proper technology. Huawei has been widly successful and they have basically killed or severely maimed all the "old" telecoms equipment players. Northern Telecom is dead, Alcatel and Bell had to merge and layoff scores, Nokia Siemens Networks is deadly sick.

      Only the "new" telecom players such as Cisco in the West are still healthy.

      So, a huge success for China.

      1. Alain

        Re: Personal Experience (Nortel can die as far as I'm concerned!)

        ``Their kit can't be crap, because even cheap stuff which breaks all the time is more expensive to operate than expensive but proper technology.''

        Well, this statement is only true if you take the beancounters out of the overall picture. Unfortunately they tend to go for the cheapest offer disregarding the cost of our time.

        That's the precise reason why I'm stuck with Nortel (now Avaya) crap where I work. They were the cheapest tender and now we have to bear with their brain-damaged L2/L3 switches for the next future due to corporate-level contracts.

        I've had the "opportunity" to witness things happening on these boxes that I'd never seen in my 25+ years as an engineer, such as MAC address jumping from one VLAN to another in bridging or ARP tables for no good reason, loop detection kicking in and taking down links when there's no loop in sight and much weirder and equally harmful nonsense. Despite the incessant firmware updates, of course.

  4. earplugs

    Downer as Mr Fixit

    Yeah.. would that work. NOT!!!!!

  5. VoodooForce
    Thumb Down

    Clive Palmer has the early mail

    on this. As long as he makes a buck at any ones expense.

    He will be linking this decision to the Greens and their puppet masters at rockefeller, making a lot of noise to look good for his Chinese masters

  6. Arclight

    At least the Aussies have sense

    I very much doubt there would be any debate about this in the UK.

    "Is it the cheapest? Then buy it"


      Re: At least the Aussies have sense

      Huawei spyware technology is already installed and operating in TalkTalk''s network, under the 'HomeSafe' label.

      A conversation I had last week claimed that BT were 'wholly compromised' by Huawei as well.

    2. D Moss Esq

      Re: At least the Aussies have sense

      Funny you should mention that.

      29 March 2009, Sunday Times, "Spy chiefs fear Chinese cyber attack", by Michael Smith:

      "... equipment installed by Huawei, the Chinese telecoms giant, in BT’s new communications network could be used to halt critical services such as power, food and water supplies ..."

      "Ministers expressed concern that replacing the Chinese components with British parts would clash with government policy on competition."

      Security? Competition? No contest.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A bit of a mistake

    "...including establishing an Australian board headed by former Howard government foreign minister Alexander Downer".

    How does being fronted by an ex-politician say anything other than that their intentions aren't honourable?

  8. Shao

    I can see where this guy is coming from......

    ......especially in light that PS2s are soooo powerful they can bring to reality a world only known to those that have seen the Terminator series. Same thinking really!

  9. John Angelico

    Where do they source their laptops?

    Could there be a bunch of Lenovo slims around?

    Wonder how they spell hypocrisy?

  10. Roger Jenkins

    My understanding is...

    Huawei has supplied the UK government with the source code for their producs so that it can be worked over. They have also offered the Aus. govt. the same deal, that is, as long as the government use security cleared inspectors then they too can have the source code to check for backdoors, malware or whatever else one looks for. I read this on the Delimiter site here in Aus.

    1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

      Re: My understanding is... fixed for you...

      Huawei has supplied the UK government with the doctored source code for their producs so that it can be worked over.

  11. D. M

    Is it clear

    that they rejected Huawei, using "security" as excuse, to hide the real reason - they'd need to buy gears from US of A master, even those gears are made in China anyway.

  12. Vic

    Is Stephen Conroy involved in this?

    Given his oft-described desire to implement massive-scale filtering on Australian Internet access, could the real problem be that Huwaei wouldn't give him the backdoor he wanted?


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