back to article UK Telecoms Diversification Taskforce says Ofcom should take lead to ensure telcos don't rely on too few suppliers

Ofcom should take a more active role in ensuring the UK's telecommunications providers do not become over-reliant on products from a small number of suppliers. Or so claims a a new report [PDF] from the Telecoms Diversification Taskforce (TDT), which has urged Government to instruct the British comms watchdog to treat …

  1. John Smith 8

    About ten years too late for that...

    All the other suppliers went bust trying to supply the likes of BT (Fujitsu/Marconi for instance) when the only real criteria was "sell us your kit so cheap that only the likes of Huawei would survive".

    They'll bang the drums. Some companies will sign up to contracts to get paid in kit buying then either go bust or get folded away when the kit orders don't come. And Huawei will continue to be used.

    Until there is recognition that the Huawei is cheap because it might be insecure, nothing will change.

  2. Slx

    We keep going on about 5G networks, but there's so much Huawei in fibre access networks i.e. FTTC (VDSL) and FTTH in the UK, Ireland and many other countries.

    You'd just wonder what your traffic is passing through. I'd have doubts that most of the telcos really know what they have in their network other than they're plugging together increasingly complicated 'black boxes' and most of them outsource almost everything to the vendors anyway and have little or no serious skills in-house anymore.

    Often entire networks are being delivered as 'turn key' projects.

  3. DevOpsTimothyC

    Costs of doing business

    Have the taskforce / Ofcom ever heard of Total Cost of Ownership?

    Some of the core reasons many places consolidate onto a few providers are

    * Your Staff only need to learn one (or few) admin interfaces / config types

    * You get discounts for buying in bulk

    * Your support costs are partially based volume and partially based on variety of hardware. AKA if a business has 1000 switches they will pay less if we had one model of switch than if there 10 models, they will pay even more if those 10 models were spread among different suppliers.

    How is the government planning to combat all that financial inertia ?

    1. ARGO

      Re: Costs of doing business

      Don't forget interop testing. The more vendors, the more combinations you have to test.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Costs of doing business

        Don't forget interop testing. The more vendors, the more combinations you have to test.

        To an extent, that already has to happen. So core network might be G.709 OTN, but services offered over that at retail or wholesale level. So then testing services delivered via ODU/OTU standards, including fun ones like CBR ODUflex that might be used for CPRI services.

        In theory, devices being G.709 compliant should mean they'll play nicely with others, in practice, not always.

        I do however kind of like supplier diversity, and the ability to create an A/B network. Problem of course is the cost, especially if you want to extend that out to all service nodes. And that's not just the capex for the tin, but also doubling up on space/heat/power, operations, licences, spares etc that can end up more than doubling cost. Upside is in theory, a more reliable network.. but then backhoe fade may still take out both networks. Plus there's the occasional regulatory challenge, eg EU Directives banning lead solder meant delays on parts while suppliers changed their processes.

        But such is politics. It's all well and good saying "no more than X% Huawei", but that obviously creates those opex/capex headaches. As well as potentially fragmenting networks into a patchwork of vendors, and making product development, service delivery & support more challenging.

  4. Chris Hills

    Good luck with that

    As soon as a small/medium company gets successful they just get bought by one of the big players in the market. To stop that you would have to legislate and that will never happen because that's how the rich stay rich/get richer.

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