UK Telecommunications Security Bill aims to improve telco security for 5G rollouts

The new bill addresses government's concerns over 5G's increased complexity and threat risk, and it broadens the definition of a security compromise.

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jamesteohart / Getty Images / Huawei

The UK Government recently revealed a new draft Telecommunications (Security) Bill. Though the headlines have focused on the fact the bill effectively bans Huawei from UK telecoms networks, there is more to the bill than just removing high-risk vendors.

The bill is driven by the prospect of 5G, the complexity it adds to networks, and increased threats from foreign actors. It updates the terminology around resiliency and what constitutes an incident, adds new security requirements to telecoms operators, and gives the telecoms regulator Ofcom new powers and responsibilities. “This groundbreaking bill will give the UK one of the toughest telecoms security regimes in the world and allow us to take the action necessary to protect our networks,” said Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden.

While many aspects of the bill won’t be a massive step change for operators, experts still believe this will drive renewed efforts and investments around security and could eventually be a benefit for enterprises using telecoms networks.

What is the UK Telecommunications Security Bill?

The bill gives the government powers around how telecoms operators can use designated “high-risk” vendors in their networks, effectively enabling the secretary of state to tell companies to remove vendors such as Huawei from the UK’s infrastructure. The government said that without such powers “commercial interests may take precedence over national security risks to UK telecoms networks.”

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