Category Archives: In Parliament

Press Release: Gloucester MP calls for better Broadband customer service

Over 10,000 broadband connections in Gloucester are not getting the proposed minimum broadband download speed, according to MP Richard Graham.

Richard has joined over 57 colleagues from across political parties to co-sign the British Infrastructure Group of MPs’ (BIG) latest report, ‘Broadbad 2.0’.

10,269 broadband connections in Gloucester without fast broadband make up at total of as many as 6.7 million broadband connections across the UK that do not receive speeds above the proposed minimum standard.

Richard said, “the problem is we don’t know whether poor broadband speeds are due to homeowners being unable to order a faster service or the nationally mandated faster Internet simply not being available to their property. It’s time we knew, and so this report recommends changes to improve the quality of broadband customer services.”

The recommendations are:

UK Government:

Progress secondary legislation setting out the terms of a broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO): The Digital Economy Act 2017 sets out provisions for a USO that defines a minimum broadband download speed of 10 Mb/s. In order to set the terms and scope of this USO, secondary legislation to the Digital Economy Act must be progressed by the government.

Provide statutory footing to the Voluntary Codes of Practice for broadband speeds: Some of the largest UK broadband providers operate according to Voluntary Codes of Practice regulated by Ofcom. The codes of practice entail an agreement on the part of providers to share clear information about their broadband speeds, and provide redress for customers when speeds are poor. However, the voluntary nature of these codes is insufficient in a rapidly developing telecoms sector. BIG therefore calls on the government to provide Ofcom with the mandate to legalise these codes of practice, in order to make broadband providers accountable to the law.

Ofcom:

Lead on the improvement of data collection: Broadband download speed data recorded by Ofcom fails to differentiate between superfast connections that do not reach speeds above the proposed minimum standard of 10 Mb/s, and those connections where customers have actively chosen not to purchase superfast broadband. It is therefore almost impossible to determine the exact number of UK broadband customers that do not receive the speeds that they pay for. BIG calls on Ofcom to lead on the improvement of collecting broadband speed data that distinguishes between the take-up and availability of superfast broadband speeds.

Consider fixed broadband speeds in a new automatic compensation scheme: It is unacceptable that Ofcom has not considered whether broadband customers should be automatically compensated for consistently failing to receive the speeds that they pay for. Broadband speeds are a key indicator for whether customers are receiving a satisfactory service.

Broadband providers:

Take responsibility for making customers aware of their complaints and compensation procedures: BIG calls on broadband providers to take responsibility for communicating future changes to their customer services in a clear and concise manner, in order to improve accountability and transparency in the sector.

NOTE TO EDITORS

For further information about BIG, and to read the report in full, visit www.britishinfrastructuregroup.uk and follow BIG on Twitter at @BIG_MPs

PRESS RELEASE: 107 MPs call for swift government support for Tidal Lagoons

107 MPs have signed a letter to Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary of State Greg Clark calling for the government to respond to the recommendations of the Hendry Review on Tidal Lagoons, and in particular Charles Hendry’s call for a pathfinder Tidal Lagoon, as soon as possible.

Chair of the All Party Group for Marine Energy and Tidal Lagoons Richard Graham MP said:

“Former Energy Minister Charles Hendry started his Review as a sceptic and ended as an enthusiast. He was very clear in urging the government to give the green light for a pathfinder in Swansea – the world’s first ever tidal lagoon – and then see whether the experience justified going ahead with much larger future lagoons.

There is a large amount of support in Parliament for this and many of us believe that tidal lagoons meet the aims of the government’s new industrial strategy. Clearly the BusinessSecretary and the Chancellor will want to be sure the pathfinder is affordable in the context of delivering secure, domestic, low carbon and diversified sources of energy. Our letter is to urge the government not to delay in responding positively to the recommendations and getting the financial talks for the pathfinder under way.”

Notes to editors

Richard Graham MP will be available for interviews on the 14th of February and the morning of the 15th of February. Please contact Megan Trethewey for details: 020 7219 2299.

The Rt Hon Charles Hendry presented his Independent Review on Tidal Lagoons to the Secretary of State before Christmas, and has since released it to the public.

The report concluded that tidal lagoons could make a ‘strong contribution to UK energy security’, based on an analysis of security, carbonisation, affordability and economic gain. It added that Tidal Lagoons would create a ‘lifeline’ to UK companies including some in the
steel industry, and offer a ‘significant economic opportunity for Wales and the UK more generally’.

The Review proposed the construction of a ‘pathfinder’ lagoon at Swansea Bay to start as soon as negotiations with the companies involved have been finalised.

Minister for Industry and Energy Jesse Norman MP has stated that “there will be no dragging of heels” in the government’s response to the review.

The Hendry Review final report can be found here.

Information regarding the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Marine Energy and Tidal Lagoons can be found here.

Flick Drummond MP also agrees with the contents of the letter.

 

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