Telecom firms are set to face tougher new security rules under a Bill laid before Parliament last week. 

The Telecommunications (Security) Bill intends to boost the security standards of the UK’s telecoms networks and is said to be a significant step towards protecting the UK from hostile cyber activity by state actors or criminals, as experienced in recent years. The Bill also imposes new duties on firms to increase their cyber security, which will now be monitored by Ofcom, or risk heavy fines of up to £100,000 per day. 

Under the Bill, the Government has been granted with new national security powers to ban or impose significant controls on telecom providers' use of high risk vendors such as Huwaei. This follows the Government responding to advice by the NCSC in July and banning the purchase of new Huawei equipment from the end of 2020 and committing to the removal of all Huawei equipment from 5G networks by 2027.

With telecom providers currently responsible for setting their own security standards, this Bill will bring uniformity across networks and encourage better security practices, as well as incentivising firms to take appropriate action in the case of a breach. This is thought to be particularly important as the Government moves towards delivering 5G and gigabit-capable broadband connections.