Chinese tech giant ZTE to build 5G network in Jersey

ZTE logo Image copyright Reuters

Security concerns have been raised after it was revealed a Chinese tech giant will build Jersey's 5G network.

ZTE has offered a contract to Jersey's publically-owned telecom company JT to build the infrastructure to set up the new mobile network.

Senator Sarah Ferguson said there was a potential "security risk".

A government spokeswoman said "detailed discussions" with cyber security authorities had taken place before any contracts were signed.

5G networks offer significantly much faster speeds than previous generations of the technology.

ZTE was previously sanctioned by the United States and is banned from supplying US government.

In a proposition submitted to Jersey's government, Ms Ferguson objected to the contract as a potential "security risk" to the finance sector.

She said the States must "think carefully" and debate the structure of the industry before making any decisions.

"If we want to do business with the Americans we have to be very careful about what equipment we install," Ms Ferguson added.

The four proposals that Ms Ferguson has put to the Treasury minister are to:

  • Ensure JT are taking the "emergency restrictions" put in place by US President Donald Trump into account
  • Take steps to limit the 5G area covered to the hospital and business areas of St Helier
  • Start a process of replacing 4G infrastructure to take the US restrictions into account
  • Seek the advice of a cyber security expert and conduct a review of Jersey's "preparedness against cyber-attacks".

In April 2018 Dr Ian Levy from the UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) wrote to UK telecom companies to "highlight potential risks to the UK's national security" of using ZTE services and equipment.

Dr Levy said: "NCSC assess that the national security risks arising from the use of ZTE equipment or services within the context of the existing UK telecommunications infrastructure cannot be mitigated."

The Jersey government spokeswoman said "detailed discussions" were held with UK cyber security authorities before agreements with ZTE were first signed in 2014, with the States continuing to be updated as "matters have developed".

"The content of these discussions will obviously remain confidential but the advice given was fully taken on board by Jersey Telecom," she added.

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites