My intervention during the Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill

Rt Hon Sir John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con) – I strongly welcome massive private-led investment in proper broadband, which is what we all need. Could the Secretary of State give guidance to the companies doing it that it is not helpful if they bury cables under main roads, requiring the roads to be dug up again every time they want to improve or mend a cable? Could we not do better, either in ducts or by the side of the road?

Nadine Dorries, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport – An interesting point. I will certainly take that back to BDUK, Openreach and others. We need to ensure that the legal framework underpinning our digital infrastructure encourages and enables the deployment of the latest networks. In 2017, we made changes to that legal framework. Implementing reforms to the electronic communications code—this goes to the point made by Ben Lake—requires installation agreements between landowners and telecom operators. The aim was to make it easier for digital networks to be installed, maintained and upgraded, and now we will go even further. The Bill will update the electronic communications code to deliver on the Government’s ambitions for digital connectivity and levelling up. Specifically, it will do three things: make the most of existing infrastructure; encourage stronger and more collaborative relationships between telecom operators and site providers; and build on previous measures to tackle the issue of non-responsive landowners.

1 Comment

  1. John McDonald
    January 29, 2022

    Telecommunications cables do not increase in size for garter bandwidth – move to optical fiber, and use the existing ducts mainly in the pavement . Gas and Water and to some extent electricity cables do grow in size with increased housing (population demand) and tend to use the road way to enable a bigger trench to be dig for a bigger pipe or cable.
    There is no real problem for the gas, water and electricity utility companies to laid spare telecoms ducts but not the same for telecommunications companies to lay big pipes.
    The real problem is some central co-ordination and planning on digging up the roads for repair and installation of pipes. The roads also get dug up just to repair the road.
    Private companies tend not to install for future capacity requirements as this costs more than the current short term need.
    From past history it can been seen that State owned (not private ownership) Utilities provide better for future requirements and emergency situations to maintain supply of service.

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