Australia’s telecommunications landscape is a mess. After a brief ray of hope when the then federal Labor government announced a majority FTTP National Broadband Network plan in 2009, to the eventually implemented ‘multi technology mix’ NBN that we have now, the digital divide for many Australians has continued to become more fractured. Fast forward to 2021 and there are a multitude of technologies (and associated problems) that Australians must live with in order to obtain what should be a basic utility — internet access.
The tug of war over which companies should be allowed to have their technology built into the heart of the world’s 5G network cores is spilling over to the wider tech industry, with firms such as Broadcom and even Google at risk of suffering business harm. 5G is going to become incredibly crucial to the very fabric of our modern society, so there’s a lot at stake. I’m sure you know the background, but just to recap. Under Chinese law, the Chinese Government can compel Chinese companies to provide access to their technologies and data. Huawei maintains that it would ignore any such instruction, but is that realistic? Can anyone really envision a Chinese firm not bowing to a diktat from their communist leaders in Beijing? This is at the heart of concerns in many Western countries.