Telecommunications

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Content published before December 2016

This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on telecommunications. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

Commons Briefing Papers

DateDescription
08.11.2016Driving and mobile phones
This short paper briefly summarises the introduction of a new offence in 2003 for driving whilst using a hand-held mobile phone or similar device, changes made to the penalties since then, future plans for further changes, and how effective the offence has been. It also sets out charging policy in this general area and briefly addresses the question of using a mobile phone while cycling.
22.09.2016Mobile Coverage in the UK: Government plans to tackle 'mobile not-spots'
This House of Commons Library Briefing Paper summarises Government and industry proposals to extend mobile coverage across the UK. Mobile 'not-spots' and 'partial not-spots' - areas where there is currently no mobile coverage and areas which have coverage from some but not all of the 4 mobile networks - currently affect parts of the UK, particularly rural areas.
09.09.2016Commons Library analysis of the Digital Economy Bill
The Digital Economy Bill 2016-17 [Bill no. 45] was published on 6 July 2016 and its First Reading in the House of Commons took place that day. Its Second Reading is scheduled for Tuesday 13 September 2016.
18.08.2016Superfast Broadband Coverage in the UK
A House of Commons Library Briefing Paper on the Government's superfast broadband policy for the UK. It sets out the current situation with regard to broadband access and coverage in all four nations of the UK and how the roll-out of superfast broadband is being managed and funded.
24.06.2016Nuisance Calls: Unsolicited sales and marketing, and silent calls
This House of Commons Library Briefing Paper sets out the regulations which seek to address nuisance calls, including unsolicited sales and marketing calls, and the main ways in which individuals can try to reduce the number of unwanted calls or texts they receive.
01.06.2016Reforming the Electronic Communications Code
A House of Commons Library Briefing on attempts to reform the Electronic Communications Code, including the Coalition Government's withdrawn amendment to the Infrastructure Bill in early 2015, and the proposals for reform in the May 2016 Queen's Speech.
20.07.2015The UK 4G spectrum auction and mobile coverage
Ofcom auctioned radio spectrum needed for 4G mobile devices in 2013, raising 2.34 billion (less than Treasury forecasts). This briefing summarises the details of the auction, potential interference with digital television and future plans for the 700 MHz lot of spectrum.
18.05.2015Regulating the web: The open internet and net neutrality
Net neutrality is the concept that all information and services should have equal and open access online without regard to content, destination or source. Both net neutrality-and the associated concept of the 'open internet'-are considered to be founding principles of the World Wide Web. Concerns that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are looking to circumvent net neutrality principles-deciding how fast data will be transmitted and at what quality-have led to campaigns to explicitly legislate for net neutrality. Without net neutrality campaigners fear a two-tiered service with fast and slow lanes could develop. In the past few years, the EU and other countries have attempted to explicitly legislate to ensure Internet Service Providers (ISPs) operate in a net neutral fashion.
24.04.20130845 numbers
The use of non-geographic telephone numbers, such as those beginning 0845, has been controversial - particularly in the context of the delivery of public services by bodies such as HM Revenue and Customs.
11.05.2012Use of non-geographic telephone numbers (e.g. 0845) by the NHS and GPs' practices
Under current rules, NHS bodies and GPs' practices are not prohibited from using non-geographic phone numbers, such as 0845 numbers, although the Department of Health has issued guidance about their use.

POSTnotes

DateDescription
09.03.2016Digital Forensics and Crime
Digital forensic science is the process of obtaining, analysing and using digital evidence in investigations or criminal proceedings. Digital evidence ranges from images of child sexual exploitation to the location of a mobile phone. This note looks at the use of digital forensics by UK law enforcement agencies. It covers how evidence is obtained, the legislation and regulation in this area, and the efforts being made to address the challenges faced by practitioners.
19.10.2015Trends in ICT
This note looks at developments in information and communication technology (ICT) and their relevance for UK policy in the next five years. It examines the capability, use and economic impact of ICT; technical barriers; and implications for cybersecurity, privacy and internet governance.
29.05.2015UK Broadband Infrastructure
The growing use of smart phones and data intensive services (such as video streaming), has increased demand for both fixed and mobile internet. This POSTnote looks at patterns in broadband access and use, and the technical and policy challenges of enhancing UK broadband infrastructure to meet future needs.
15.07.2014Big Data Overview
This POSTnote gives an overview of big data.
05.03.2014Social Media and Big Data
This POSTnote examines the application of 'big data' approaches to social media in three key areas: elections and polling, commercial applications and security. It also covers the regulation of social media data and public concerns around privacy.
31.05.2013Monitoring Internet Communications
Internet communications are often monitored to investigate criminal activity. Recent attempts to update UK regulation of investigatory powers have generated controversy. This POSTnote explains the use of different internet monitoring methods and discusses the impact of evolving technologies.

Select Committee Reports

DateDescription
01.02.2011OFCOM: the effectiveness of converged regulation.
Public Accounts Committee report [Commons]
04.03.2009Mobile phone charges in the EU: Follow up report.
European Union Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]

Early Day Motions

DateDescription
26.01.2012DATA SECURITY ON MOBILE PHONES
That this House is concerned at reports in the Daily Mail that millions of mobile phone users may have been exposed to internet scams after their numbers were inadvertently sent to ...
10.01.2012HM REVENUE AND CUSTOMS CONTACT CENTRE TRIAL OF PRIVATE CONTRACTORS
That this House congratulates staff working in HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) contact centres on increasing the positive answering rate to 71 per cent. of calls to date in 2011-12; notes ...
15.12.2011MASTERS DEGREE IN SIGN LANGUAGE
That this House congratulates Heriot-Watt University on becoming the first in Scotland to offer a full-time MA in British Sign Language (BSL); notes with concern that there are only ...
15.11.2011PROPOSED CLOSURE OF VIRGIN MEDIA LIVERPOOL OFFICES
That this House is concerned that Virgin Media is proposing to close itsLiverpool offices in Albert Dock with the loss of over 400 jobs; notes that Virgin's aim is to reduce office ...
07.11.2011DEVOLUTION OF BROADCASTING TO THE WELSH ASSEMBLY
That this House believes that, given the handling of the issue of S4C during the passage of the Public Bodies Bill, particularly the lack of opportunity for the overwhelming majority ...

Glossary

  • Commons Briefing Papers (CBP) Papers providing in-depth and impartial analysis on every major piece of primary legislation and on other topics of public and parliamentary concern. Regular statistics papers are also published.
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POSTnotes (POST PN) - proactive four-page policy briefings from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology based on reviews of the research literature, interviews with stakeholders and peer review, commissioned by the POST Board
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - authored publications by the research section of the House of Lords Library that provide analysis of Bills, subjects for debate in the House and other issues of interest to Members.
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses