Telecommunications (Security) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:39 pm on 30th November 2020.

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Photo of Matt Warman Matt Warman The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport 9:39 pm, 30th November 2020

I am not going to engage too heavily with my hon. Friend’s trousers, but I will say to him that, as I said a minute ago, we are committed to taking forward an ambitious package of changes to strengthen and future-proof the Modern Slavery Act 2015, and that is one of several significant avenues that are open to him.

On the important matter of diversification, the telecoms supply chain review asked how we can create sustainable diversity in our telecoms supply chain. That question is addressed by the new diversification strategy that we published today, which is crucial to ensuring that we are never again in a situation in which we are dependent on just a handful of vendors who supply the networks on which so many of us have come to depend. I wish to spend a little time on this issue. The Government have been working at pace to develop the 5G supply chain diversification strategy, which sets out a clear vision for a healthy, competitive and diverse supply market for telecoms and the set of principles that we want operators and suppliers to follow.

The strategy is built around three key strands: first, securing incumbents; secondly, attracting new suppliers; and thirdly, accelerating the development and adoption of open and interoperable technologies across the market. That is why, in the diversification strategy that we published today, we commit to exploring commercial incentives for new market entrants as we level the playing field; to setting out a road map to end the provision of older legacy technologies that create obstacles for new suppliers; and to investing in R&D to grow a vibrant and thriving telecoms ecosystem here in the UK.

I say gently to Chi Onwurah that we have directly addressed a number of the issues that she raised in Westminster Hall last week. I look forward to engaging with her more on the strategy because it is important that we should work together to try to make sure that we all derive the benefits of a serious £250 million Government commitment that will drive early progress and ensure that our 5G diversification strategy not only bolsters the resilience and security of our digital infrastructure but creates opportunities for competition, innovation and prosperity.