HC Deb 01 April 1981 vol 2 cc470-3
Mr. Michael Marshall

I beg to move amendment No. 36, in page 19, line 12, leave out 'a standard so approved' and insert an approval under this subsection'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this we may take Government amendments Nos. 37 and 38, and the following amendments:

No. 39, in page 19, line 14 at end insert and conditions which must be complied with as to the connection of such apparatus directly or indirectly to any such systems and the use of such apparatus in direct or indirect connection with any such system, if it is to be so connected or used'. No. 40, in page 19, line 14, at end insert— `(1A) Neither the Secretary of State nor a body appointed by him shall approve standards under subsection (1)(a) or (b) of this section, as the case may be, unless he or it is satisfied that compliance with the standards concerned, in respect of the apparatus specified therein, will:

  1. (a) minimise the risk of any loss, damage or injury to consumers or staff or the Corporation;
  2. (b) minimise the risk of damage to the Corporation's system;
  3. (c) minimise mis-operation of the Corporation's system or interference with the system;
  4. (d) minimise interference to the service of other users or the Corporation's system;
  5. (e) ensure compliance with recommendations of the Consultative Committee on International Telephones and Telegraphs where practicable;
  6. (f) ensure a satisfactory standard of transmission performance where the apparatus is connected to the specific Corporation's network for which it was designed;
  7. (g) ensure provision of appropriate connection facilities for compatibility with complementary wiring and connecting points installed by the Corporation; and
  8. (h) ensure compatibility with the Corporation's call metering equipment'.
No. 41, in page 19, line 14, at end insert— `(1B) Without prejudice to the powers to approve standards conferred by subsection (1), standards which have been proved to be defective or have become defective through the passage of time may be withdrawn by the Secretary of State, after consultation with the Corporation or, after such consultation as aforesaid, by a person or body appointed for the purpose of approving standards under subsection (1)(b) of this section, and may be replaced by a new standard which may specify whether or not, or for what period of time, apparatus conforming to the withdrawn standard may remain connected or be newly connected to any system run by the Corporation'. Nos. 42 and 43, which are Government amendments.

No. 44, in page 19, line 27 [Clause 16], at end insert 'including conditions as to the connection of such apparatus directly or indirectly to that system and the use of such apparatus in direct or indirect connections with that system'.. Nos. 45 and 46, which are Government amendments.

Mr. Marshall

These amendments deal with a number of points that were raised during the Committee proceedings on the clause, and with amendments tabled by the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Golding). Amendments Nos. 37 and 43 make it clear that the conditions that can be imposed on approved apparatus extend to the use of the apparatus in question and the practical detail of its connection to the network. As the Bill is drafted, these conditions have to be included in the standard itself. On reflection, it does not seem appropriate that such conditions should be included in the standard itself, which will be concerned with the technical specifications of the equipment, and amendments Nos. 36 and 38 provide for the conditions to be imposed when approving the standard. This is essentially a drafting change, and will make no difference to the imposed conditions.

Some doubt was expressed in Committee on the question whether the clause allowed standards in individual approach to be withdrawn or varied if they became out of date or needed to be changed for some other reason. Amendment No. 45 puts that beyond doubt, and amendment No. 46 is consequential.

Amendment No. 42 adds an extra degree of flexibility to subsection (2) by allowing the Secretary of State to delegate his power to approve individual apparatus. It will still be necessary for BT to be consulted, and the Secretary of State will be able to delegate his power in a limited area if he so wishes.

Mr. Golding

To whom is it intended to delegate those powers?

Mr. Marshall

The matter will need to be considered. I cannot give the hon. Gentleman a reply now, but I hope to do so later.

I was saying that the Secretary of State will be able to delegate his power in a limited area if he so wishes. That brings subsection (2) into line with subsection (1), which already includes a power to delegate.

The amendments are clear, and I commend them to the House.

Mr. Golding

I welcome the Government amendments, but I am sorry that the Government have not agreed to table an amendment on terminal apparatus standards. In Committee the Under-Secretary recognised the importance of such standards. He said that they were not a proper subject for detailed legislation. I have given the matter further consideration and read through his remarks, but I still believe that it would be preferable to have the matter dealt with in legislation. Perhaps he will repeat the assurance that he gave in Committee, that the Secretary of State would not approve any standard that did not meet the criteria that were laid down in my amendment.

Mr. Michael Marshall

I am happy to repeat the assurance given in Committee.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made: No. 37, in page 19, line 13, after "apparatus", insert or its connection or use".

No. 38, in page 19, line 14, leave out "that standard" and insert the standard to which the approval relates".

No. 42, in page 19, line 20, leave out "or" and insert— () after such consultation as aforesaid, by a person or body appointed for the purpose by the Secretaryof State; or".

No. 43, in page 19, line 26, after "conditions", insert as to the apparatus or its connection or use".

No. 45, in page 19, line 27, at end insert— (2A) Any power conferred by subsection (1) or (2) to issue an approval includes power, exercisable in the like manner and subject to the like conditions or limitations to vary or withdraw any approval issued in the exercise of that power.".

No. 46, in page 19, line 41, leave out the approval of a standard

and insert an approval, or the variation or withdrawal of an approval".—[Mr. Michael Marshall.]

6.30 am
Mr. Michael Marshall

I beg to move amendment No. 47, in page 20, line 13, at end insert— (7) For the purposes of this Part, any apparatus a function of which is—

  1. (a) to emit sounds or signals with a view to their being conveyed by a telecommunication system; or
  2. (b) to receive sounds or signals which have been so conveyed, shall be treated as connected to a telecommunication system at any time if, at that time, sounds or signals emitted by it are being conveyed by that system or, as the case may be, it is receiving sounds or signals which have been so conveyed; and references to apparatus which is to be, or is capable of being, connected to a telecommunication system shall be construed accordingly."
The amendment is designed to deal with apparatus that, although not electrically connected to the network, either directly or indirectly, is nevertheless designed and intended to interact with the network. An example is an acoustically coupled modem. I am sure that hon. Members agree that such apparatus should be covered by the approvals procedure, and I hope that the House will approve the amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

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