Space snub on city’s in­ter­net

TECH­NOL­OGY

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THE Aus­tralian Space Agency has snubbed Ade­laide City Coun­cil's su­per-fast in­ter­net net­work, which uses hard­ware from a Chi­nese telco that has raised con­cerns in Aus­tralia’s in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity.

The “Ten Gi­ga­bit Ade­laide” net­work, which uses Huawei tech­nol­ogy to con­nect premises to in­ter­net pro­vided by

TPG, has been spruiked as a “rev­o­lu­tion­ary high­speed, high­per­for­mance” net­work that will help the city at­tract and re­tain busi­nesses. More than 700 build­ings across Ade­laide are now con­nected to the net­work.

But the Aus­tralian Space Agency has con­firmed it does not in­tend to use the ser­vice.

In re­sponse to ques­tions by South Aus­tralian Se­na­tor Rex Pa­trick, pic­tured, at Se­nate es­ti­mates hear­ings, the agency said it had its own its telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion ser­vices, man­aged by the De­part­ment of In­dus­try, which were “en­crypted end-toend”.

“The agency’s provider is Nex­Gen who have con­firmed that they do not use Huawei equip­ment within its net­works,” the agency said.

A space agency spokesman did not re­spond di­rectly when asked by The Ad­ver­tiser if its de­ci­sion re­lated to the net­work’s use of Huawei tech­nol­ogy. He said only that the De­part­ment of In­dus­try man­aged telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions re­quire­ments across its na­tional net­work and its provider for Ade­laide was Nex­Gen.

Huawei was es­sen­tially blocked from build­ing Aus­tralia’s 5G net­work in 2018 over se­cu­rity con­cerns.

The firm has also been banned from work­ing on “es­sen­tial” tele­coms in­fra­struc­ture in the United States. Se­na­tor Pa­trick, who last year raised con­cerns about the use of Huawei tech­nol­ogy in the Ten Gi­ga­bit Ade­laide net­work, wel­comed the space agency’s con­fir­ma­tion it would not be us­ing the net­work. “It would be ap­pro­pri­ate for oth­ers in (Lot Four­teen) to seek ad­vice from the Aus­tralian Cy­ber Se­cu­rity Cen­tre,” the Cen­tre Al­liance se­na­tor said.

Ade­laide City Coun­cil’s eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment as­so­ciate direc­tor Michelle English said the level of take up for Ten Gi­ga­bit Ade­laide was “ex­cel­lent” and “in line with ex­pec­ta­tions”. “There is now 700 build­ings suc­cess­fully con­nected to Ten Gi­ga­bit Ade­laide, with more than 200 busi­nesses tak­ing up long term ser­vice con­tracts.” Asked whether other oc­cu­pants of Lot Four­teen had opted not to use the net­work, she said: “The City of Ade­laide is in on­go­ing con­ver­sa­tions with the State Gov­ern­ment about the use of Ten Gi­ga­bit Ade­laide in Lot Four­teen.”

Pic­ture: KERYN STEVENS

SUR­PRISE: The Border­ers per­formed a pri­vate gig for Si­grid Ma­lessa’s 60th birth­day, thanks to her mum, Inge Krebs.

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