HL Deb 04 April 2001 vol 624 cc121-2WA
The Earl of Northesk

asked Her Majesty's Government:

In the light of recent reports of meetings between the Department of Trade and Industry and companies in the telecommunications sector to discuss difficulties associated with 3G (third Generation), how they intend to respond to the proposed European Commission initiative in this area. [HL1358]

The Minister for Science, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville)

DTI officials meet regularly with all telecommunications companies, and discuss a wide range of technical and regulatory issues. The Government are always prepared to discuss issues of commercial and regulatory interest with the operators.

The Commission Communication proposes three broad areas for discussion with member states and operators:

  1. (a) Getting the future regulatory framework right. This refers directly back to the ongoing negotiations under the 1999 communications review;
  2. (b) Deploying R&D and the eEurope programmes in support of 3G sevices;
  3. (c) Facilitating deployment of 3G networks under current legislation.

Where the Commission comes forward with specific proposals, we will obviously discuss them with the Commission, other member states and industry.

In the meantime, of course we have shared the Communication with companies in the sector, giving them every opportunity to give us their comments directly.

The Earl of Northesk

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What the budgetary implications for the Treasury are in the event that the European Commission suggestion that payment for 3G (Third Generation) licences should be deferred is adopted. [HL1359]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville

The five opera tors 'who won 3G licences in the UK auction have all paid in full for their licences. The Commission's proposal is therefore not relevant to the UK.