By Sam Varghese, IT Wire
July 25, 2017

Australia is reportedly putting pressure on the Solomon Islands to withdraw from the Project Honiara undersea cable project after the contract was awarded to Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei.
The Island Sun newspaper reported that officials had said that Australia had cited security concerns to justify its actions.

Huawei was banned from obtaining any contracts for Australia’s NBN in 2012. Reports at the time said the Attorney-General’s department had blocked the company’s participation based on advice from ASIO.

The decision to exclude Huawei was taken even though influential Coalition and Labor figures, including Alexander Downer and John Brumby, lobbied on behalf of the Chinese firm.

It was also made despite objections from some Coalition MPs, including the then shadow communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull.

The Project Honiara undersea cable project is expected to improve the capacity of the local telco, Our Telekom, to handle domestic and international calls.

The Solomon Islands and Huawei signed a memorandum of understanding a few weeks ago but now the start of work is expected to be delayed after Australia intervened.

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