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Department for Culture Media and Sport written question – answered on 3rd November 2014.

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Photo of Angus MacNeil Angus MacNeil Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Constitutional Reform), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Scotland)

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he has taken to facilitate the deployment of fixed and mobile broadband networks; and when he plans to bring forward legislative proposals to implement the review of the Electronic Communications Code.

Photo of Ed Vaizey Ed Vaizey Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy (Jointly with Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy (Jointly with Department for Culture Media and Sport)

The UK Government has committed £790m central funding to improving coverage of superfast and standard broadband in the UK. Together with local sources of match funding this represents up to £1.7bn of public funding. The Scottish Government has been allocated over £100m from central funds to support the roll-out of superfast and standard broadband in Scotland. The Scottish Government is responsible for the projects in Scotland. And information about the Highland & Islands projects can be found on the Highlands and Islands Enterprise website.

The DCMS worked closely with the Department of Communities and Local Government to design and implement a package of planning relaxations in England in 2013. These changes support the roll-out of fixed line high-speed broadband in protected areas, and high-speed mobile broadband (4G) in protected and unprotected areas by removing the need to seek planning permission for specified developments.

I am still considering my position on the reform of the Electronic Communications Code and will outline my plans shortly. I want to ensure that any reforms to the Code provide effective but balanced support to expand communications infrastructure and improve network coverage for the benefit of the public and businesses across the UK.

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