Report Stage and Third Reading of the Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Bill
The wayleaves bill passed through the House of Commons on Tuesday. The Bill then completed its First Reading in the House of Lords on Wednesday and is waiting to have a date confirmed for its Second Reding.
During the House of Commons debate, Shadow Digital Minister, Chi Onwurah repeated many points made in earlier stages of the Bill around open access provision (stating the Bill should go much further in incentivising broadband infrastructure competition) and issues with leaseholds. She was clear that the Bill did not go far enough, and that it could not be described as a “hammer blow” as the Government had presented it.
Secretary of State, Oliver Dowden MP and Digital Infrastructure Minister, Matt Warman MP, reiterated the Government’s commitment to improving the country’s connectivity and highlighted the provisions within the Bill to do so.
The main point of contention was over an amendment added by Iain Duncan Smith MP, over Huawei’s involvement in the UK telecoms network. In a bid to allay some of the fears of Conservative colleagues, Dowden stated that the Government would bring forward the Telecoms Security Bill before the summer recess which he stated would act as a better opportunity to discuss security requirements of networks. Whilst a significant number of Conservative MPs rebelled on this amendment, the Government was able to quash this rebellion, and defeated it by 306 votes to 282.
Budget content relating to Broadband
During the Budget announcement on Wednesday, as previously announced Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, repeated the Government’s pledge to provide £5bn to get gigabit-capable broadband to the hardest to reach 20% of the country.
Written Questions on Broadband rollout
Matt Warman replied to written questions from Kate Griffiths MP (Con) on the availability of superfast broadband in Burton and its roll-out in areas where it is currently unavailable. He wrote that 97% of premises in Burton have access to superfast broadband, and 21.8% have full-fibre connections. Regarding future rollout, he highlighted the Government’s £5billion pledge to deliver broadband in hard to reach areas and that an additional £200 million has been allocated to trail a model to deliver gigabit-capable broadband in rural and remote locations. He also wrote that rural premises could use vouchers worth £3,500 for SMEs and £1,500 for residential premises to support the cost of installing gigabit-capable connections.
Written Question on the Telecoms Infrastructure Bill
Replying to Chi Onwurah MP (Lab) Warman said that the Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Bill would clarify the procedure and circumstances in which an operator could seek to obtain access to common areas in a building, in order to fulfil the request of a tenant. He defined the tenant or ‘lessee in occupation’ as ‘a person who occupies a property under the terms of a lease. This could include Assured Shorthold Tenancy or Assured Tenancy agreements.’
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has published their interim report into the internet.
The report notes that the UK hosts a tiny proportion of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) material but the response of other countries lags behind. Encryption will make it harder for law enforcement to detect and investigate offences potentially resulting in CSA offences going undetected. The inquiry highlights that more innovation and collaboration is needed, but that technology cannot be a substitute for investing in live moderation. The report notes that there is a lack of coherent long-term strategy on combatting CSA from industry and that greater collaboration is required between industry, law enforcement and government.
The report recommends that the Government should:
- require industry to pre-screen material before it is uploaded to prevent access to known images.
- Press the WeProtect Global Alliance to take more action internationally.
- Immediately publish the prospective interim code of practice as proposed in the Online Harms White Paper.
- Introduce legislation requiring online service providers and platforms to implement stricter age verification procedures.
The inquiry will give a more detail of its response to the Online Harms White Paper in its final report.
Written Questions on Online Harms
Baroness Hollins wrote to Baroness Barran about the comment sections of online media platforms. In her reply, Barran referenced the Government’s response to the Online Harms White Paper consultation which confirmed new duty of care legislation on online companies which will be overseen by an independent regulator. She also noted that the legislation would not duplicate existing regulation for comments sections on media sites.
Responding to a question from Jim Shannon MP (DUP) Caroline Dinenage, Minister for Digital and Culture, said that Ministers and officials were having regular discussions with social media companies regarding online bullying, the details of which are published quarterly on GOV.UK.
Written question on the effectiveness of regulation by Openreach Monitoring Unit
Responding to a question from Dan Jarvis MP (Lab), Warman wrote that the Government continues to consider the reports made by Openreach Monitoring Unit, as part of its assessment of whether legal separation is delivering better connectivity and contributing to the delivery of national gigabit capable broadband.
Digital Markets Taskforce: Terms of reference
The 2020 Budget revealed that a cross-regulator taskforce will run for six months and report to the Government with advice and a pro-competitive regime for digital platform markets. This will be based within the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The Government wants to ensure that digital markets continues to:
- enable disruptors to challenge incumbents
- empower consumers through choice and control
- support quality services and content online
- provide industry, especially SMEs, with fair access to digital markets to be able grow their businesses
The taskforce will draw on academic and industry expertise, engage with digital platforms as well as consumer and business groups. In making its final decision, the Government will consider the taskforce’s advice along with broader policy objectives including the Cairncross Review and Online Harms White Paper.
Cyber Security Working Group
An ISPA Cyber Security Subgroup Meeting Video Call is taking place on Wednesday at 2pm, if you wish to attend, please RSVP to email@example.com
The winners of the ISPA Awards 2020 will be announced at the Sheraton Grand Park Lane in London on 2nd July. The black-tie event includes an awards ceremony, three course dinner with wine, live band and entertainment. The awards categories include the Best Business ISP Best Consumer ISP, Best Consumer Solution, Best Rural ISP, Best New ISP, Best VoIP, and many more....
Tickets are now on sale here.
ISPA Conference and 25th ISPA anniversary reception
The annual ISPA Conference will take place on 14th October in the offices of our legal partners Bird&Bird in London.
If you would like to be involved in shaping the agenda, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
ISPA Members receive complimentary places, non-members tickets cost £100.