Insights Internet Service Providers’ Association responds to the Queen’s Speech May 2021

ISPA notes that the Queen’s speech (see item under General heading) covered the Government’s priorities to “build back better” and “level up” communities across the country. Tech was an area which featured prominently, it says, with the Online Safety Bill and Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill taking centre stage. The Government also emphasised their commitment to broadband roll-out and highlighted their ambitions to reach 85% gigabit-capable coverage by 2025.

ISPA Chair Andrew Glover said that the Queen’s Speech showed “just how important ISPs are to helping Government deliver its vision to boost infrastructure, help level up the country to reduce regional inequalities, and power our economic recovery from the pandemic”.

Mr Glover noted that ISPA’s members are “busy delivering gigabit broadband across the UK”. Accordingly, ISPA is “pleased to see that the Government has listened to industry and will introduce legislation to simplify the wayleaves process and make it easier to deploy broadband networks. Wayleaves remain the biggest barrier to broadband rollout, and it is now of crucial importance that the Government does not waste this opportunity and decisively rebalances the Electronic Communications code to turbocharge rollout in urban and rural areas.”

Mr Glover also said that delivering secure communications is “another priority our members are helping to deliver”, and that “the Telecoms Security Bill will continue its passage through Parliament”. Mr Glover acknowledged that there is “still work to do to ensure that the measures are proportionate, clear and do not undermine existing business models”, but said that its return to Parliament “provides a valuable opportunity to continue to scrutinise the legislation.”

Mr Glover also welcomed the introduction of an Online Harms Bill, saying that it will now “rightly be subject to pre-legislative scrutiny to allow policymakers time to fully discuss and analyse a massive change to how the internet is regulated in the U.K”. To read ISPA’s response in full, click here.