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Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill completes parliamentary scrutiny

17 November 2022

Cables attached to an internet router

The Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill returned to the Lords for consideration of Commons amendments in ‘ping pong’ on Tuesday 22 November. 

The Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill aims to create a new regulatory scheme to make consumer connectable products ('smart' products) more secure against cyber attacks. It also seeks to accelerate the deployment and expansion of mobile, full fibre and gigabit capable networks across the UK.

Consideration of amendments

The bill was considered by the House of Lords between 6 June and 19 October 2022, before passing to the House of Commons.

On 22 November, members of the Lords accepted a Commons reason for disagreeing to a Lords amendment to the bill.

The Lords amendment would have required an independent review of the electronic communications code.

How to follow

Explore further information

Read background on the bill in the Lords Library Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill briefing.

Next steps

As both Houses have now agreed on the text of the bill, it now awaits the final step of Royal Assent when it will become an Act of Parliament (law). 

A date for Royal Assent is yet to be scheduled.

What's happened so far?

Third reading: Wednesday 19 October

Third reading is the chance for members to ‘tidy up' a bill, making small changes to ensure it is effective.   

No changes were put forward ahead of third reading. Members discussed the progress of the bill through the House at the conclusion of Lords stages.

Catch up

Report stage: Wednesday 12 October

Proposed changes

On Wednesday members voted 159 for, 151 against, a change to require an independent review of recent changes to telecommunications infrastructure legislation and policy. 

Members also raised concerns about elements of the bill stated in secondary, not primary, legislation and discussed changes relating to: 

  • the definition of a distributor in the scope of the bill
  • the rights on an operator to fly lines over a person’s land from another
    operator’s apparatus
  • providing a defence for offences under the Computer Misuse Act 1990 for instances where a person is testing the conformity of a relevant connectable product with security requirements
  • supplying specific legal guidance regarding the individual security requirements for relevant connectable products made available in the UK, the users of those products and obligations on relevant parties.

Catch up

Committee stage day two: Wednesday 29 June

Proposed changes

Members speaking on day two of committee stage put forward changes (amendments) on subjects including:

  • rights to upgrade and share telegraph poles
  • a requirement of telecomms operators to notify emergency services of upgrade works
  • an implementation review of the Act after it is brought into force.

Catch up

Committee stage day one: Tuesday 21 June

Proposed changes

Members speaking at committee stage put forward changes (amendments) on subjects including:

  • consumer connectable products meeting cyber security, privacy and safety minimum standards
  • the safety and security of children
  • bringing the online marketplace within scope of security standards.

Catch up

Second reading: Monday 6 June

Members discussed the main issues in the bill, flagging any concerns or specific areas where they think amendments (changes) are needed during second reading.  During the debate, members raised topics including:

  • cyber threats and digital infrastructure targets
  • harms caused by insecure smart home devices
  • demand for faster broadband due to more devices being installed in homes
  • delivering improved 4G coverage in rural areas and the rollout of 5G across the UK
  • digital skills for young people to improve their cybersecurity
  • Huawei goods and services.

Members speaking 

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Conservative), Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, opened the debate and responded on behalf of the government.

Members speaking included:

  • Lord Clement-Jones (Liberal Democrat), Liberal Democrat spokesperson for digital
  • Earl of Devon (Crossbench), Devon Committee member, Country Land and Business Association
  • Baroness Merron, (Labour) opposition spokesperson for digital, culture, media and sport
  • Lord Vaizey of Didcot (Conservative), former Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy.

Catch up

Find out more about the issues discussed: catch up on Parliament TV or read the Lords Hansard transcript.

Image: Adobe Stock