Infrastructure Bill [Lords]

– in a Public Bill Committee on 18th December 2014.

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[Mr Jim Hood in the Chair]

Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Minister of State (Department for Transport) 11:30 am, 18th December 2014

On a point of order, Mr Hood. I am grateful for your indulgence in allowing me to make some brief comments about an amendment that the Government intend to table for debate during later sittings. It relates to mobile phone and broadband services, which play an important role in supporting businesses, organisations and individuals. These services are underpinned by a complex network of infrastructure, and as consumer demand for communication services develops, so too must the infrastructure that delivers it.

The Government have a key role to play in ensuring that the legal framework is clear, robust and relevant for rolling out modern communications infrastructure. That is why the Government will bring forward reforms to the electronic communications code. The reformed code will be broadly based on the Law Commission’s 2013 report, “The Electronic Communications Code”. The Government thank the Law Commission for this extensive review. Reforms will include increased clarity around rights to move and remove electronic communications apparatus; greater automatic rights to upgrade and share this apparatus; a new forum for dispute resolution that will have powers to order interim and urgent access; and a new power to allow Government to reform the basis for wayleave valuation following public consultation.

Photo of Richard Burden Richard Burden Shadow Minister (Transport)

Further to that point of order, Mr Hood. I thank the Minister for giving us advance notice of his point of order. Obviously we will need to see the precise proposals, but this is something we will look at, and we will need to consult our colleagues shadowing the Departments affected. He will know that all Committee members are concerned to ensure that debate on other aspects of the Bill is not truncated. However, assuming those things are sorted out, I look forward to seeing the proposals, and we will consider them.

Photo of Jimmy Hood Jimmy Hood Labour, Lanark and Hamilton East

I thank the Minister for that information. It was more a point of information than a point of order.