Telecommunications: Infrastructure

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 18th October 2021.

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Photo of Jamie Stone Jamie Stone Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Armed Forces), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Defence), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate he has made of the number of (a) telegraph poles and (b) ducts situated on private land in (i) England and (ii) Scotland.

Photo of Julia Lopez Julia Lopez Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office), Minister of State

The Department does not have access to the number of telegraph poles or ducts situated on private land across the UK, as this is a matter for each individual operator.

The Digital Connectivity Infrastructure Accelerator (DCIA) programme, led by DCMS, is exploring the challenges of using publicly owned infrastructure assets to support roll out of advanced wireless networks, reducing the demand for additional telegraph poles and other new structures. The Digital Asset Management workstream within this programme, is looking to help local authorities improve knowledge of existing public sector assets, for use by mobile network operators.

In addition, the Geospatial Commission is developing the National Underground Asset Register (NUAR) for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, to drive efficiencies in infrastructure delivery across the UK and help improve worker safety, which may capture some of this data in the future.

The Electronic Communications Code (the Code) is the statutory framework for the installation of digital infrastructure, which applies equally to both public and private land. The full list of operators that have powers under the Code to install, maintain and upgrade digital infrastructure can be found on Ofcom’s website.

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