Huawei chief challenges European policymakers to close digital divide

James Pearce
Published on:

Rotating CEO Ken Hu told the Huawei European Innovation Day that Europe is at risk of falling further behind US and Asia in terms of connectivity

Huawei has challenged European regulators to create more favourable policy around telecoms to enable operators and carriers to close the connectivity divide with Asia and the US.

In Japan and Korea, more than 90% of people have access to broadband speeds of 30Mbps, but in Europe, the figure is just 76%, according to Huawei’s rotating CEO Ken Hu.

This falls as low as 40% in rural areas, while 14% of the European population have never used the internet before. 44% just have basis access, Hu told a gathered crowd of more than 100 people at Huawei’s fifth annual European Innovation Day, this year held in London.

Hu said: “We have to figure out how to bridge the gap as soon as possible, or Europe risks falling further behind.

“The future broadband network should be able to meet the requirements for those consumer applications such as live video, VR, AR. So we need to provide much faster internet speeds – 10Gbps, or 100x faster – with lower latency – 50x more responsive.

“This will take a combination of 5G, all-optical networks and the internet of things. We believe better policy will help encourage more investment and that will take change in Europe.”

His word comes just weeks after European operators fired a warning at Brussels to make sure regulations that encouragement investment in 5G are not watered down.

Hu’s words came as Huawei unveiled a new partnership with the University of Edinburgh, the seventh UK University to partner with the Chinese vendor.

The three-year partnership will see the two work together to open a new lab for distributed data management and processing, where they will explore new theories and technologies in the IT field.

The framework agreement presents a new collaborative model for Huawei and leading universities. The partnership follows a long-term collaboration between database experts at the University of Edinburgh and Huawei. The lab will investigate scientific and engineering research challenges relevant to academia and industry.

Professor Sir Timothy O'Shea, principal of the University of Edinburgh, said: "The University of Edinburgh is delighted to partner with Huawei to perform further research into data science and data management. The creation of this laboratory gives our researchers the opportunity to apply their expertise to large-scale, real world challenges in this very exciting area."

 Hu added: "Huawei is a long-term advocate of open innovation. We work with over 100 leading universities around the world, and the joint lab we are launching with the University of Edinburgh will go a long way in helping the ICT industry further its research into data science and enable digital transformation. The links between industrial and academic communities are strong here, so Europe is an excellent place for collaboration between business and academia."