What happened: Huawei and Canadian telecom provider ABC Communications are expected to announce a cooperation agreement on Friday. The two companies plan to hold a broadband trial to speed up internet in a rural community of western British Columbia. It is intended to be a test before expanding to other small towns across Canada. Eric Li, president of Huawei’s Canada division, said the company was “proud to provide a solution to this unique Canadian challenge” in the announcement.
Why it’s important: Huawei’s influence stretches beyond 5G, even in the country currently undergoing a diplomatic crisis with China. Since Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Vancouver at the US’ request, China has detained two Canadians and sentenced another to the death penalty in an apparent act of retaliation. Canada is in the midst of reconsidering Huawei’s inclusion in its high-speed 5G network plans, as other US allies have done while citing security concerns. The job of increasing Canadian rural broadband speeds remains up for grabs, however. Huawei’s move could even be viewed as strategic: Canada’s government previously considered trading rural internet resources to set up 5G networks in cities, while the Chinese company plans to serve remote communities.