Telecoms Infrastructure Leasehold Property Bill has made it through Parliament
The Telecoms Infrastructure Leasehold Property Bill aims to make it easier for residents (leaseholder and tennants) of flats and apartments (known as MDU - multiple dwelling units) to get Gigabit capable broadband installed.
In addition to the legislation simply encouraging building owners to move forward on this the pathway to the nuclear option of a tribunal and dispute resolution.
The noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, asked about the universal service obligation. We will keep the speed and quality parameters of the USO under review to make sure that it keeps pace with consumers’ evolving needs.
I must offer an apology to the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson of Balmacara, if I was critical of any of his drafting skills, which will certainly be vastly superior to anything I could manage. I am genuine in saying that the Government are very grateful to him for raising important issues, including how we should tackle the matters that cut across different government departments and their different legislative responsibilities, which are so crucial.
The noble Lord also challenged the Government’s ambition in this area. As he will know, by 2025, the Government are targeting a minimum of 85% of gigabit-capable coverage, but we will seek to accelerate rollout further to get as close to 100% as possible. That target is based on extensive engagement with the industry over the past year as well as the current industry rates of deployment and how those may be increased. We have also made a major investment of £5 billion in the UK gigabit programme, which has galvanised commercial build in the market.
In closing, I was reminded while listening to noble Lords of my low point on this Bill. It was when my own internet connection failed while we were all working remotely. I think it happened during the Committee stage and I was unable to use my video camera, so I have had a personal interest in this. I close by thanking again the Bill team, who have been enormously knowledgeable, professional and helpful in supporting me and, I know, a number of noble Lords through the passage of the Bill. I thank all noble Lords for their scrutiny, their challenge and the quality of the debate and I commend the Motions to the House.Baroness Barran MBE, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Across the UK there are some 480,000 blocks of flats and previous estimates of the impact of this bill suggest that 3,000 blocks a year could benefit. Of course laws and promises are only any good if use is made of them and therefore to help track the positive impact or non impact of this legislation back in January we started flagging blocks of flats in our database, starting initially with the last quarter of new build premises but also adding others of various ages when we come across them. There is a lot more work to do on this as we only have 2,400 blocks flagged so far covering some 67,355 flats and of these 46,679 have access to a 300 Mbps or faster broadband solution, 4,361 have speeds below 30 Mbps. While it is easy to extrapolate those figures to get an idea of the national picture we believe we need to get a lot more blocks flagged and explicitly go back and review new build from the last decade.