It’s impossible to overstate the importance of the internet, to every business and household, in every region and for every community.
But the government lacks the drive and ambition to make sure that everyone can get access to the internet and everyone that knows how to use it. And they have dragged their feet on protecting children from the dangers that are out there on the internet.
Today, I gave a keynote speech at the 9th Annual Parliament and Internet Conference.
This Government is complacent on connectivity:
• On broadband rollout, where the Government schedule has slipped;
• On mobile coverage where targets will not be met;
• On digital inclusion where there is no effective plan; and
• On consumer protection and child protection where actions are too little, slowly.
I announced a consumer-friendly package of measures for the telecoms market which Labour will support in Government. These measures will help consumers benefit from competitive pricing and better services. The package covers:
- Action to make switching easier across the market by moving to the practice of the new provider running the process for products such as mobiles packages, pay TV and multiple-product communications packages where this is not currently the case, as they are incentivised to make it happen more efficiently;
- Strengthening Ofcom by ensuring that legal challenges to its decisions are not frustrated by the length of legal process nor by disproportionate costs;
- Action on nuisance calls by making it easier to serve penalties on companies making them and making caller listing mandatory in most cases; and
- Acting on the costs of mobile calls, and encouraging investment in 4G roll-out through amendments to the Electronic Communications Code as recommended by the Law Commission.
A copy of my speech will be available soon.