Huawei told not to apply for Australian broadband project

Huawei called Australia's ban on the company from supplying equipment for its national broadband project due to security concerns a "setback."

The Australian Financial Review reported on Saturday that Huawei's chairman for Australia was told by a top official in the Attorney General's office that the company would not be allowed to supply equipment for the National Broadband Network (NBN) because of worries over cyberattacks originating from China.

The advice reportedly came from the Australian Security Intelligence Organization. Huawei's corporate affairs director, Jeremy Mitchell, told Sky News that "we know the bar is set a little bit higher for us because of our Chinese origin."

The company has offered governments including Australia the chance to review its source code and allowed auditing of its IT equipment, Mitchell said, according to an interview transcript provided by the company.

A spokesman for the Attorney-General's office said on Monday that discussions with telecommunication companies are confidential. In regards to the NBN, "as a strategic and significant government investment, we have a responsibility to do our utmost to protect its integrity and that of the information carried on it."

The AU$36 billion (US$37.6 billion) NBN project aims to bring fiber optic broadband connectivity to 93 percent of Australian homes by 2020.