The House of Lords has agreed on a series of amendments to the Growth and Infrastructure Bill (GIB) which will see national parks protected from broadband rollout.
The Bill was set up to allow for broadband to be deployed in rural areas with less hindrance from red tape. However there was concern that the controversial Bill was too vague in some of its wording and it was feared that parks could’ve been ruined at the expense of hitting broadband targets.
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Amendment 36A in particular reiterates points previously passed into law which have been set up specifically to defend national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONB). Some, such as the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act, have been part of the law since 1949.
Bill sponsor Baroness Hanham said that the goal of the Bill was to simplify the planning of rural rollout in order to meet the needs of those in the sticks desperately waiting for something better than sub-1Mbps speeds.
Should the Growth and Infrastructure Bill be passed into law in its current form, the likes of BT would be required to abide by a code drawn up between ISPs, park management authorities and local planning bodies. Previously, there was talk of a similar code being drawn up but it would have been voluntary.
Currently, the Growth and Infrastructure Bill is approaching its last report stage, due to take place on March 20. After this, the Bill then undergoes its third and final reading before any future amendments are considered. The Growth and Infrastructure Bill will then become written into law and faster rural broadband rollout can hopefully begin in earnest.
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