O P I N I O N
Acting budget director Russel Vought is seeking to delay the ban of Huawei for another two years (or for a total of four years after the ban was enacted).
If they are a risk to national security, is it okay to compromise national security for two more years?
Apparently so – or is it that they are not really a risk to national security and this is just an effort to get China to the bargaining table? We don’t know.
What we do know is that Vought is saying that the ban would cause a “dramatic reduction” in companies that supply the government. Obviously, if the government can’t get parts or systems that they need, that is a risk all by itself.
More bizarrely, the budget office says that not banning Huawei for four years as suggested wouldn’t go against the policy of Huawei not being allowed to do business in the US. So doing business for four years doesn’t go against the policy of not being allowed to do business in the US? I am having a hard time grasping that government double speak.
The ban would also apply to companies getting federal grants or loans. This includes rural telephone companies. Banning Huawei would mean that these rural telephone companies would no longer be able to deploy 5G cell systems – maybe forever unless the government comes back with billions in more loans or grants to cover the extra cost of using another vendor. France just announced that replacing Huawei – which they have NOT agreed to do – with another vendor would cost them 52 BILLION Euros. The United States is bigger and more complicated than France, so likely someone will need to cough up hundreds of billions of dollars to replace Huawei equipment.
Alternatively, Americans, especially in rural America (like me who lives 20 miles from downtown Denver), who already have cell service on par with countries like Nigeria (really!) will continue to have crappy cell and Internet service.
Maybe that is okay. I know my Internet is 1/10th the speed of my brother’s home Internet connection in Europe at twice the price – a factor of 20 difference. In fact, legally, my Internet service cannot even be called broadband because it is too slow.
It does seem that if we really think Huawei is a security problem, then we need to ban them now and not in four years as planned and continue to have crappy Internet and cell service. That will put our businesses, consumers and students at greater risk of becoming second class to other countries, but that is the price we may have to pay. It may motivate people to think outside the box and come up with breakthrough solutions.
The good news is that our slow, crappy Internet and cell service makes it harder to hack us, so maybe there is a silver lining. Source: CNet.