§ Mr. Soley
To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) how he regulates cable television companies to ensure that cable laying does not cause serious disruption to other local services and to local residents;
(2) what monitoring his Department carries out of fracturing of gas, water or electricity mains and other serious damage by cabling companies; and if he will publish a list of such incidents.
§ Mr. McLoughlin
Under the terms of their telecommunications licences, cable operators are required to carry out their street works in a responsible manner, to maintain effective liaison with other statutory undertakers, and to adhere to all relevant street works legislation. Street works are subject to the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991, and its associated regulations. The Act imposes a duty on the cable operator to co-operate with the local highway authority in the interests of safety, to minimise the inconvenience to persons using the street and to protect the structure of the street and the integrity of apparatus in it. The Act makes an undertaker liable to pay compensation for damage caused to another undertaker's apparatus.
§ Mr. McLoughlin
Franchises are awarded to cable television companies by the Independent Television Commission, which also has responsibility for those franchises awarded by its predecessor, the Cable Authority. All franchisees are required to be licensed under both broadcasting and telecommunications legislation. Review of the terms of broadcasting licences for cable programme services is a matter for the ITC. Responsibility for review of the terms of a telecommunications licence governing the running of a telecommunications system rests with the Office of Telecommunications. Review of the terms governing the installation of that system are for DTI to consider.