§ Mr. Marlow
asked the Secretary of State for Industry when it is planned to implement the various provisions of the British Telecommunications Bill.
§ Mr. Michael Marshall
British Telecommunications will come into existence as soon as the Bill receives Royal Assent, but will not assume its full responsibility until the appointed day, early in the autumn. The Secretary of State's licensing and approval powers for telecommunications will be exercised as necessary following the appointed day in accordance with the three-year408W programme for the liberalisation of subscriber apparatus, the licensing of network use and of competitive transmission services is still under consideration.
On the postal side, it is proposed that the new power for the Post Office to provide counter services for nationalised industries should come into effect on Royal Assent. Licences for charities to carry Christmas cards and for document exchanges to carry mail in bulk between each other will be issued as soon as possible after Royal Assent once the necessary consultations are complete, as will the suspension of the postal monopoly in respect of time-sensitive mail.
Other provisions of the Bill will be implemented as and when appropriate.