What’s up with… UK security bill, KPN, Huawei’s chip shop

TelecomTV Staff
By TelecomTV Staff

Nov 24, 2020

  • No respite for Huawei under UK’s Telecommunications (Security) Bill
  • KPN commits to fibre rollout 
  • Huawei’s chip shop dishes up a telling tale

The UK’s new telecoms security rules, KPN’s plans for fibre broadband rollouts and the ominous name of Huawei’s home-grown chip take the medals in today’s news race.

Far from instigating a course correction on the Huawei issue in the wake of the US election result, the UK government is doubling down on ‘high risk vendors’ and will likely implement a security bill full of requirements and legal duties around network security, with substantial fines and ongoing penalties (up to £100,000 a day) for network operators who fail to come up to scratch. The government, under its new Telecommunications (Security) Bill, has also given itself new powers to remove high risk vendors, such as Huawei, from networks, while the UK telecoms regulator, Ofcom, is to be given the responsibility to monitor operators to ensure they comply. For more details, see this UK government announcement.

Huawei’s response? ’It’s disappointing that the Government is looking to exclude Huawei from the 5G roll out. This decision is politically-motivated and not based on a fair evaluation of the risks. It does not serve anyone’s best interests as it would move Britain into the digital slow lane and put at risk the Government’s levelling up agenda,” noted Huawei Vice President Victor Zhang in a statement emailed to the business media. 

As part of its Accelerate to Grow strategy update, Dutch national operator KPN says it will invest €3.5 billion during the next three years to roll out 500,000 new fiber lines each year and double the number of fibre broadband connections it offers in The Netherlands, after which it will start to replace copper lines with fibre. For more details, see this announcement (in Dutch). 

Huawei's first PC that has been built using the first generation Huawei CPU chip is for the vendor’s domestic market only. Signalling again that it won't be constrained by inability to source embargoed US chips for its devices, Huawei is developing its own microprocessors, the first of which is the Kunpeng 920. It is central to the Huawei MateStation B515, a desktop computer aimed squarely at the enterprise market within China. Huawei intends to compete head-to-head in the PRC's internal market with the likes of Dell and Lenovo and, in the first instance will hope that the appeal of the desktop's "Made entirely in China" credentials will outweigh any reduced performance characteristics as far as patriotic Chinese businesses are concerned. The MateStation B515 will also be appreciably cheaper than imported devices or those made in-country under licence. It comes with a 23.8 inch monitor, in either 4-core or 8-core configurations and has a clock speed of 2.6GHz. It's hardly a world-beater but is a marker in the sand, showing that things are changing. In Chinese mythology a kunpeng is a mythical, magical and massive beast that is a cross between a fish and a bird. They are very tough, can withstand concerted enemy attacks and survive indefinitely without food or other energy sources and only need to sleep for a few seconds every six months. The mythology has it that Kunpengs are native to China but have quietly spread around the entire world, where they are lying doggo (if you can say that of a fish/bird hybrid) waiting for a call to action. So, there's a message in the name of Huawei's first home-grown chip and it's nowhere near as subtle as might have been expected. Indeed, it's downright blatant.

Ericsson says it has landed a 5G radio access and core deal with Etisalat, is helping Russian operator MTS deploy a “5G-ready” private network for a mining company, and has been included as a top ranked company in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices.

Apple has responded to growing criticism of the proportion of revenue it takes from developers via the App Store by dramatically halving its take - at least for those developers who generate more than $1 million and those who have just started an account with Apple. Instead of the 30% share it introduced way back in 2008, a rate of 15% will charged for the ‘vast majority of apps’ from the start of next year, as this article from Bloomberg points out. However, the app store now makes up a tiny proportion of Apple’s total service revenue.

Cue the Twilight Zone scary "doo, doo, doo, doo" theme music… Open on three men in flying suits walking around a solitary and mysterious monolith standing in a semi-circle of blood red rocks in a remote and uninhabited desert. Sounds like something straight out of the script of 2001: A Space Odyssey doesn't it? But this has nothing to do with Stanley Kubrick. The crew of a helicopter criss-crossing a desert in Utah in the US while conducting a census of rare and elusive Big Horn sheep came across a 12 feet high, triangular metal monolith standing securely upright in a small dead-end canyon in the middle of nowhere. Video footage of the close encounter shows baffled members of the Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the US Wildlife Service examining the weird object and wondering who or what put it where it is, when and why? Footage can be viewed on the DPS website. Quite how the artefact got there, and its purpose, is the subject of much speculation with explanations ranging from: rich practical jokers with a helicopter capable of secretly transporting a massively heavy metal structure hundreds of miles into the desert and then digging it upright into the bedrock; a device misplaced from Area 51; a satellite transponder; a testbed population surveillance node; or a gateway to another dimension. Given that on the righthand side of the video footage is what clearly appears to be a carving of the head of a gigantic animal of the genus testudinidae, TelecomTV inclines to the belief that the time-travelling inhabitants of Planet Zog have gifted mankind a 7G mobile comms base and teleportation portal for us to play with. AT&T and Verizon are putting exploration teams together even as this is being written. Rumour has it that one will be led by Roy Neary, who recently returned from his galactic perambulations via the interstellar waystation at Devil's Tower, Wyomimg, and the other by Roy Batty, who has seen things you people wouldn't believe. Meanwhile DPS is refusing to make public the location of the artefact for "public safety reasons" and have warned that "the installation of structures on federally-managed public lands is illegal." Not that it will worry Barry, Grand Emperor of the Terrapin People of Zog. He'll put a metal monolith wherever he wants, whether Ranger Smith likes it or not.

- The staff, TelecomTV

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