Digital Infrastructure

Digital, Culture, Media and Sport – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 8th February 2018.

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Photo of Martin Whitfield Martin Whitfield Labour, East Lothian 12:00 am, 8th February 2018

What steps his Department is taking to improve digital infrastructure.

Photo of Margot James Margot James The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport

£1.7 billion of public funding has been invested to deliver superfast broadband across the UK, and a further £1.1 billion to support the next generation of digital infrastructure, including 5G test beds and trials and a fibre infrastructure challenge fund. We have also reformed mobile planning laws in England and reformed the UK electronic communications code, removing barriers to deploying infrastructure.

Photo of Martin Whitfield Martin Whitfield Labour, East Lothian

Given the Government’s commitment to deal directly with local authorities in Scotland in the near future on digital infrastructure, would the Minister agree to meet me, the local authority and, more importantly, disruptive local providers who may be able to give answers to some of the problems that we face?

Photo of Margot James Margot James The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport

We do need to reduce obstacles and costs in the commercial deployment of digital infrastructure. That is what our reforms to the code were about. The Scottish Government have introduced the first stage of their planning reforms. I hope that they can build on that and introduce reforms for their designated areas, albeit they have fallen behind Wales and England and indeed Northern Ireland. I agree to meet the hon. Gentleman and his local authorities.