The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) has reportedly blocked the National Broadband Network from using Chinese telecommunications equipment manufacturer Huawei Technologies as a supplier.
“As a strategic and significant government investment, we have a responsibility to do our utmost to protect (the NBN’s) integrity and that of the information carried on it,” a spokeswoman for Nicola Roxon told the Australian Financial Review.
“This is consistent with the government’s practice for ensuring the security and resilience of Australia’s critical infrastructure more broadly.”
Australian officials reportedly advised Huawei that Canberra was aware of cyber attacks originating in China.
Huawei Technologies has supplied internet equipment to New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Its Australian arm’s board is stacked with retired Australian politicians including former Victorian premier John Brumby and former foreign minister Alexander Downer. It is chaired by Navy veteran John Lord.
David Kennedy, a research director at business technology consultancy Ovum told the AFR all the NBN Co’s equipment came from Europe or North America, despite China offering lower prices.
Huawei Technologies has been accused of having links to the Chinese government. Chief executive Ren Zhengfei, a former member of the People’s Liberation Army, has never spoken to the media.