Iristel and Ice Wireless Claim Chinese Networking Deal Safe from Espionage
The town of Aklavik in Canada’s Northwest Territories has a population of less than 600 and no roads. Yet it is in danger of having its communications network compromised by the Chinese government, reports the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).
Huawei (News - Alert) Canada has been accused by the U.S. Intelligence Committee of potential espionage, according to the CBC. Last month Huawei Canada formed a strategic partnered with Ice Wireless and Iristel on delivering 3G cellular connectivity to some of Canada’s least connected areas, including the Canadian Northwest, Yukon Territories and Nunavut.
Iristel and Ice Wireless claim that the network they are building will be secure, despite the warning. While Huawei is providing antennas and fiber optic cables, they stress that network security is in their hands, not those of Huawei.
“It seems a little absurd what I'm hearing — from a technology perspective,” Samay Bishay told the CBC recently, president and CEO of Iristel. “Network security lies ultimately with the service provider. So, if you can control your network well, then I don't see how any outside force could really override these controls.”
He said the spy warning doesn’t affect the multi-year partnership the firm has with Huawei. Bishay did note, however, that his company would reevaluate the partnership if solid evidence surfaced, according to the CBC.
Iristel is a global provider of internet-based voice and fax services. It sells international phone-to-phone call completion services to carriers worldwide, including those in Romania, Egypt, Dominica and Algeria, among others.
In addition, Iristel offers wholesale internet-based international and long distance voice, data and fax traffic. Its premium routing utilizes only white, licenses PTT supported routes for points of presence, according to the company. Tier I carriers utilize Iristel’s points of presence to terminate their wholesale and retail traffic.
As reported, the three regions in Northeastern Canada served by the partnership with Huawei currently have the worst accessibility and the highest costs for telecommunications in Canada. A recent Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission study found that just a third of the Canadian North has wireless internet available, and only 48 percent currently use 3G cellular services. That differs drastically from the rest of Canada, where there is 99 percent availability.
The partnership will give the three regions fixed line applications, too, such as home telephone through Iristel's Canadian VoIP CLEC infrastructure.
“Conjoining the North with the rest of Canada releases a world of opportunities,” said Bishay when the partnership was announced last month. “We are targeted to support countryside and destinations, businesses and community entities in the North have dynamic access to fast and affordable telecoms products on the same level, as those enjoyed by the rest of country, and even better.”
Edited by Allison Boccamazzo