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Broadband Providers: Competition

Volume 676: debated on Thursday 4 June 2020

The Government are committed to encouraging greater network competition between broadband providers by removing as many barriers to commercial roll-out as we possibly can. We have legislated to help the deployment of broadband in blocks of flats and our efforts are already making a significant impact. More than 80 network operators are now deploying fibre across the UK; that competition is good for consumers and good for businesses as well.

There is, no doubt, resilience in the data networks, but more people are homeworking in Shropshire and throughout the United Kingdom, and we have seen mobile phone networks such as EE, Vodafone and O2 fail spectacularly. What are the Government doing to ensure that that does not happen again, given that people are losing money and losing connectivity with their families at a time when we all need to be connected?

In the main, the resilience of internet connectivity, both mobile and fixed, over the course of the coronavirus crisis has allowed people to work from home in a way that they would not have been able to just a few years ago. My hon. Friend is right to highlight the vital work of the networks to make sure that they continue to function. I speak regularly to the chief executives of the organisations that he mentions and know they are absolutely committed, through initiatives such as the shared rural network, which we announced in the course of the pandemic, to making sure that connectivity only continues to improve, because we now know that it is more vital than ever.