The government has decided not to opt for US and Chinese fifth generation (5G) technologies in telecommunications infrastructure. Faced with pressure from the US and Chinese governments, it decided to stick with two operating systems. You will pay more for it.
“We are not going to enter the middle of this war between the United States and China,” Communications Minister Fabio Faria justified in the room yesterday. “We have a critical situation with regard to 5G. We have restrictions only on the government’s private network, in which we put some specifics, because we understand that this is an important network, but not on the broader network.”
The practical effect of this decision is the construction of two communication networks. In terms of 5G technology, standard and twenty times faster than the existing standards in big cities (4G) would be one for public use.
The other will be set up for the exclusive use of public institutions. It will have a hub connected to 26 capitals in Brasilia and, in theory, must have a specific telephone device for server users to access. It does not yet have a defined design, but it is guaranteed to incur additional costs on taxpayers. Some estimates indicate that for some users and companies its construction will cost the equivalent of one-third of the investment in the public network.
The definition of infrastructure equipment technology for 5G networks is one reason for the geopolitical controversy between the United States and China.
Donald Trump pressured Jair Bolsanaro to choose the American system. Joe Biden insisted. For the past two weeks, for example, representatives of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and National Security Council have been at Planaldo Palace to demonstrate the “insecurity” of Chinese 5G technology.
Like Bolsanaro, many in Brasilia believe in the “security” of technology, despite the history of US spying in Brazil.
For example, in 2013, O Globo revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) in Brasilia was operating with the CIA as one of the 16 digital intelligence sites in the United States. There was a large collection of telephone and electronic correspondence data from people living or traveling in Brazil and from companies located in the country.
Documents leaked by former NSA employee Edward Snowden show that the amount of data collected from networks (2.3 billion phone calls and messages) in Brazil in January 2013 exceeded the amount collected by the agency alone. American soil is said to be under the watchful eye of foreigners “interested” in national security.
The decision not to choose between the US and China on the public 5G network was communicated to the delegates by the Minister of Communications, saying that the government has surrendered to the inevitable reality of two essential aspects.
One is China’s unprecedented economic leanings on Bolsanaro. Bilateral trade is expected to cross US $ 120 billion this year, a growth of 20% over last year. Brazilian sales in the Chinese market, based on products, increased by 37.7% in the first half compared to January-June 2020.
Another aspect is the expansion of China’s investment in key sectors of the economy, from energy and oil to digital infrastructure. About 40% of the devices that work on the Brazilian Internet network incorporate Chinese technology (Huawei).
Attempts were made to persuade telecom operators to switch to American technology. They responded that they could not increase their spending by up to 30% of the forecast – as had happened in some parts of the EU. There will be an increase of US $ 16 billion in the investment plan estimated at US $ 48 billion to implement the 5G network in urban areas alone.
The government then decided to turn “security” into an argument for creating a parallel business, creating a private network for public organizations. It will have specific requirements, the Minister of Communications explained yesterday.
This would restrict non-US technology and industry alliance (Open Run) equipment suppliers to the compatible architecture of networks and equipment from any manufacturer other than the Chinese. Last week in Brasilia, White House National Security Adviser Jacob Jeremiah (“Jack”) Sullivan clarified the US interest in adhering to the industrial agreement in Brazil.
Bolzano harassed China for two years. Retreated. In order not to confront the United States, it decided to impose on 5G the additional cost of a “secure” public network that would be socialized among taxpayers.
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