§ Mr. Nigel Jones
To ask the President of the Board of Trade what plans he has to vary the ban on British Telecom and Mercury providing entertainment services via their national networks; what representation he has received regarding the ban; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. McLoughlin
British Telecom and Mercury have precisely the same opportunities as other companies to provide entertainment services, through holding interests in franchises to provide cable television. The Government are committed to maintaining their policies on these matters, as set out in chapter 5 of the 1991 telecommunications White Paper. We have received correspondence on aspects of these policies from a variety of sources, and I have recently explained the justification for our policies to the Trade and Industry Select Committee.