Skip to main content

Electronic Communications Infrastructure

Volume 114: debated on Thursday 9 April 1987

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how, in the light of recommendation 15 of the Peacock report, the Government expect the electronic communications infrastructure in the United Kingdom to develop; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend has set up a new steering group to advise on such prospective infrastructure developments. This steering group, which is chaired by Mr. Alstair Macdonald, a deputy secretary in my Department, has as its members Mr. John Alvey, formerly a director of BT plc, Professor Bryan Carsberg, Director General of Telecommunications, Mr. Ivor Cohen, managing director of Mullard Ltd. Mr. John Fairclough, the Government's Chief Scientific Adviser and Professor Stanley Metcalfe of Manchester university.We have also awarded a major study contract to a firm of consultants to identify ways in which the United Kingdom electronics communications infrastructure may be expected to develop over the next two decades, and the likely effects on suppliers, users and society as a whole. This study is expected to take some eight months to complete.My Department has also prepared a discussion document as a basis for wider consultation on these issues. This document is being sent to the major players in the communications industry for comment. This will help to ensure that both the study and the work of the steering group start on a sound footing. Copies of the discussion document have been placed in the Library of the House and will be made available more generally by my Department on request.My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary informed the House last November that we would be considering recommendation 15 of the Peacock report in more detail. Both the consultants study and the establishment of the steering group are essential steps in this process.Following the study, and in the light of its outcome, the responses to the discussion document and concurrent reviews by the steering group, the Government expect to make public the conclusions they have reached.