All 1 Lindsay Hoyle contributions to the Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Act 2021

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Tue 10th Mar 2020
Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Bill
Commons Chamber

Report stage & 3rd reading & 3rd reading & 3rd reading: House of Commons & Report stage & Report stage: House of Commons & Report stage & 3rd reading

Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Bill Debate

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Department: Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport

Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Bill

Lindsay Hoyle Excerpts
Report stage & 3rd reading & 3rd reading: House of Commons & Report stage: House of Commons
Tuesday 10th March 2020

(4 years, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Act 2021 Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts Amendment Paper: Consideration of Bill Amendments as at 10 March 2020 - large font accessible version (PDF) - (10 Mar 2020)
Chi Onwurah Portrait Chi Onwurah (Newcastle upon Tyne Central) (Lab)
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I beg to move amendment 2, in clause 1, page 2, line 3, after “lessee in occupation” insert

“, or a person who is a legal occupant of the property and who is in a contractual relationship with the lessee or freeholder,”.

This amendment is intended to expand the definition of persons who can request an operator to provide an electronic telecommunications service to include rental tenants and other legal occupants who may not own the lease to the property they occupy.

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker
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With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Amendment 1, page 2, line 16, at end insert—

“(f) the operator does not, after 31 December 2022, use vendors defined by the National Cyber Security Centre as high-risk vendors.”

Amendment 4, page 2, line 16, at end insert—

“(f) the operator does not use designated high-risk vendors, as defined by the National Cyber Security Centre, in newly deployed electronic communications services.”

This amendment would prevent vendors designated as high-risk being used by operators granted Part 4A orders.

Amendment 3, page 5, line 14, at end insert—

“(8) Any operator exercising Part 4A code rights is obliged to ensure that alternative operators can easily install the hardware needed to provide their own electronic communications service.

(9) The definition of ‘easily’ in sub-paragraph (8) is to be provided by Ofcom.”

This amendment is intended to ensure that tenants are not “locked in” to using services provided by a single operator and to encourage market competition.

Amendment 5,  page 5, line 14, at end insert—

‘(8) Any operator exercising Part 4A code rights must publish a plan setting out how they will remove high-risk vendors, as defined by the National Cyber Security Centre, from their network.”

This amendment would ensure companies exercising part 4A rights have clear plans in place to remove vendors who are designated high-risk and a national security concern.

Amendment 6,  page 6, line 37, at end insert—

“Information on cyber security

27HH Any operator exercising a Part 4A code right must provide written information to new customers in the target premises on best practice on cyber security when using the electronic communications service that has been provided.”

This amendment would require operators to equip new customers with literature on how best to keep their home cyber secure, particularly in the era of the Internet of Things and with recent reports of hacked domestic devices such as baby monitors.

Chi Onwurah Portrait Chi Onwurah
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I welcome the Secretary of State to his place. It is somewhat surprising to see him, as my hon. Friend the Member for Batley and Spen (Tracy Brabin) had expected to see him in the Commonwealth debate yesterday and I was expecting to see the Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the hon. Member for Boston and Skegness (Matt Warman) today. As I understand it, after saying almost nothing over weeks in his post, the Secretary of State’s first moment at the Dispatch Box may be to reverse completely the Government’s position on part of the Bill. That raises the question: what information has changed and did the Government know what they were doing in the first place?

As we are taking all the amendments together, I shall consider the whole Bill. It is a great pleasure to speak on the Bill as shadow Minister for Digital. I have an interest to declare: before entering the House, I worked as a telecommunications engineer for 23 years, rolling out telecoms infrastructure in countries as diverse as Germany, Nigeria, Britain and Singapore. I am passionate about digital technology and the positive difference it can make; however, the 10 years for which I have been in Parliament have coincided with a rapid decline in the relative quality of our telecoms infrastructure under successive Conservative Administrations. Without the required ambition, this Government risk wasting a decade more.

The UK has a proud technological history, from the earliest days of the industrial revolution to the invention of the first fibre-optic cable and, of course, the worldwide web. That is why it was with such regret that on Second Reading I highlighted the fact that the OECD ranks us 35th out of 37 for broadband connectivity, even though ours is the fifth largest economy, and that 85% of small and medium sized enterprises said that their productivity was adversely affected by unreliable connections in 2019.

Sadly, our wasted 10 years in telecoms have not been limited to fixed infrastructure; both mobile and the online infrastructure of regulation have also been left to languish, reducing the impact of the Bill. Conservative Governments have entrenched the digital divide in the United Kingdom: 11 million adults lack one or more digital skills and 10% of households do not have internet access. At this rate, in 2028 there will be 7 million people without digital skills, which is tantamount to leaving one in 10 of our population permanently disenfranchised. Our part-time Prime Minister has changed his tune—[Hon. Members: “Oh!”]