Broadband: Optical Fibres

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 17th March 2022.

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Photo of Julian Knight Julian Knight Chair, Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Chair, Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Chair, Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Sub-committee on Online Harms and Disinformation, Chair, Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Sub-committee on Online Harms and Disinformation

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of starting an information campaign to make landlords aware of the critical role they play in the provision of the UK's communication network to full fibre.

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

I agree that landlords play a critical role in enabling everyone in the country to have access to full fibre broadband.

If landlords are not prepared to grant access to operators who wish to install full fibre broadband in their buildings, this could create a digital divide which this government is keen to avoid. We need to make sure all landowners are properly informed, not only of the benefits of greater connectivity, but also their rights under the Electronic Communications Code.

My officials hold monthly workshops with a range of stakeholders in this sector, including those representing landowner interests. These workshops are aimed at encouraging greater cooperation between landowners and telecoms operators.

One outcome of these workshops may be the creation of a sector wide body for Electronic Communications Code matters, encompassing both landowner and operator interests, which is a development that I would welcome. This body may not just represent all stakeholder interests, but also educate them on how they can assist with the expansion and improvement of existing digital networks.

This Government has also introduced measures in the Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Act to assist both operators and tenants where a landlord is unresponsive to repeated requests for access to install equipment in blocks of flats. The implementing regulations will be laid before Parliament when Parliamentary time allows.

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