Queen’s Speech 2021: extension to 5G coverage and gigabit broadband pledged

The government’s upcoming legislative agenda has been unveiled in today’s Queen’s Speech including enhanced commitments to extending 5G mobile coverage and high-speed broadband across the UK.

Speaking in the House of Lords, the Queen announced that “[my] government will strengthen national infrastructure [through] proposals to extend 5G mobile coverage and gigabit capable broadband in the Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill.

The legislation, which has been dubbed the ‘Telecoms Security Bill’ will also have a strong focus on “cyber attacks” and introduces a number of powers specifically designed to boost the UK's cybersecurity.

This includes new legal duties on telecoms firms to increase security across the entire UK network.

The Queen announced in her speech, which formally opens a new session of Parliament, that the measures laid out would work towards “my government’s priority to deliver a national recovery from the pandemic that makes the United Kingdom stronger, healthier and more prosperous than before”.

"My government will introduce measures to increase the safety and security of its citizens," she added at the State Opening of Parliament 2021.

The government will also get new powers to “place controls on the use of services and equipment from high-risk vendors” once the Telecoms Security Bill comes into effect. This is expected to include the likes of Huawei and ZTE, which have both been named as "high risk" by the National Cyber Security Centre.

The Bill is currently in the ‘report stage’ in the House of Commons.

The technology proposals laid out in the Queen’s Speech have received a positive reaction from the sector - City Fibre chief executive Greg Mesch said “legislation to address barriers to full fibre roll-out and reduce the digital divide is welcome”.

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