New powers giving the Government the ability to strip out Huawei telecoms equipment from UK networks have come into force.
The Telecommunications (Security) Act has received Royal Assent, meaning the Government can now control the use of high-risk telecoms vendors – such as Huawei – within the UK’s communication networks.
Ministers announced last year that the Chinese phone-maker would be banned from the core parts of the UK’s networks over intelligence and security concerns.
The measures included restricting the use of the company’s equipment within new 5G networks, and working to remove all existing Huawei equipment from 5G networks by 2027 – with the new Act enshrining these positions in law.
“This is a major step forward in protecting our internet traffic and the millions of calls we make every day,” Julia Lopez, minister for media, data and digital infrastructure, said.
“Risks to our telecoms networks can never be completely prevented, but we have raised security standards across the board.
“We can now manage our networks confidently and deliver the revolutionary benefits of 5G and full-fibre broadband to people and businesses.”
The new law also sets out new legal duties for telecoms operators by which they will have to meet, and gives the Government the power to designate vendors as high-risk and impose controls on when and how their equipment is used.
Companies found to be in breach of the new regulations could face heavy fines of up to ten percent of turnover or, in the case of a continuing contravention, £100,000 per day, the Government said.