Telecommunications Infrastructure (Relief from Non-Domestic Rates) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:39 pm on 10th July 2017.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Amanda Milling Amanda Milling Conservative, Cannock Chase 7:39 pm, 10th July 2017

It is an honour to follow my hon. Friend Matt Warman, who is a real expert in this field, as he has demonstrated tonight. I have to admit that I am a technology dinosaur; when it comes to communications, if I have a choice between email, text or telephone, I will choose an actual conversation every single time. It takes an awful lot less time to pick up the phone and have a conversation one to one than to compose lengthy emails that often can take hours to construct by virtue of the need to check the content and tone, or to correspond via text messages; at present I have about eight text messages building up, and I will no doubt forget to respond to all of them.

I welcome this Bill, which provides business rate relief for new fibre infrastructure. Its measures form part of a wider package that rightly encourages investment in our country’s digital infrastructure and that helps ensure that Britain remains a digital world leader. The Bill will help homes and businesses across the country have faster, more affordable and more reliable broadband connectivity.

We have heard this evening from many Members who represent constituencies very different from mine. Many of their areas are very rural, and we have heard from them about issues of the connectivity of mobile and broadband in rural areas. My constituency is not like that: I have mainly towns and one large village—Cannock, Hednesford, Rugeley and Norton Canes. There is limited rural space in my constituency; my hon. Friend Wendy Morton is one of my near-neighbours, and I see her nodding, as she recognises what my constituency is like.

I also have a forest in my constituency. If someone is driving through the forest of Cannock Chase and I, as a passenger, am having a phone conversation, the chances are that the phone call will cut off; I must add that I am on wireless, not Bluetooth. This is an issue in the more rural parts of my constituency. The measures in the Bill that make broadband and mobile access much better will be welcomed by people and businesses across the country, including in my constituency.