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Code rights in respect of land connected to leased premises

Part of Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Bill – in the House of Commons at 4:03 pm on 10th March 2020.

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Photo of Ronnie Cowan Ronnie Cowan Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Infrastructure) 4:03 pm, 10th March 2020

As this Bill crawls forward, what could have been a UK-wide success risks becoming a fragmented and divisive Bill. An opportunity for the UK Government to engage with the devolved powers and build something to a gold standard—something that could have been seen across the world as a path forward—has been ignored. This Government have clearly learned nothing from their Brexit failures.

The SNP Scottish Government recognise that the geography of Scotland—with, for example, 94 permanently inhabited islands—and the spread of our population require specific solutions to provide world-class digital infrastructure. Despite telecommunications being a reserved matter, the SNP Scottish Government continue to set higher targets and provide additional funding. Currently, the SNP Scottish Government have committed £600 million to rolling out superfast broadband. They continue to strive for 100% access to superfast broadband, which they define as 30 megabits per second—the EU standard —as opposed to the UK’s definition of 24 megabits per second.

As we try to move forward with this Bill, I would ask that we look at the unique geography and the other obstacles that are hindering the roll-out. These should be considered by the UK Government when allocating their funds to specific regions and nations of the United Kingdom.