OTTAWA — Huawei Canada says it has received federal approval to work with a northern telecom company and an Inuit development corporation to extend high-speed 4G wireless services to 70 communities in the Arctic and northern Quebec.
Alykhan Velshi, the vice president of corporate affairs for the Canadian arm of the Chinese telecommunications giant, says the new project was approved under the federal Security Review Program, which is designed to protect critical infrastructure.
The program is run by the Communications Security Establishment, in conjunction with the Public Safety Department, Global Affairs Canada and other federal departments.
A spokesman for Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale referred questions of about today’s announcement to CSE, which did not immediately reply.
Huawei is a controversial company in Canada because its chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou is at the centre of a diplomatic battle between Canada and China since her arrest in Vancouver in December on an extradition warrant from the United States, which wants her on fraud charges.
Huawei is waiting for a federal decision on whether it will be allowed to supply equipment for next-generation 5G wireless networks in the rest of the country, amid pressure from the U.S. not to do business with a company it views as an organ of Chinese military intelligence — an allegation the company denied again today.
Huawei’s announcement in Ottawa is about extending 4G service, which is common in populated areas in southern Canada, to more rural and remote parts of the North.