Digital Economy Bill
Nick's Intervention in the Second Reading Debate
Given that the extent of fibre to premises is so low in this country at only 1%—we are in danger of falling behind other countries in future—should not the regulator be confident in looking at the monopoly and in breaking it up where necessary to encourage more investment and competition? Does not BT’s monopoly with Openreach now need attention?
The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Karen Bradley)
In response to my right hon. Friend, I have been clear that we will not stop or cease until we get the right result. If that means the structural separation of BT and Openreach, this Government are prepared to consider that. Ofcom has made some recommendations. We are looking carefully at them, and Ofcom are consulting on them. We need to make sure we get it right and that we get this delivered, but nothing is off the table.
The Bill will ensure that Ofcom is held to account, but not at the expense of delay and intransigence. As well as holding industry to account, we must of course be supportive. The Bill will bring billions of pounds of benefits to industry. The new electronic communications code recognises that digital connectivity is as important as a connection to water or electricity supplies. Providing new rights to install communications infrastructure will herald a revolution in rural connectivity, bringing the digital economy to all parts of our nation.
You can read the full debate here.