The Government has scrapped proposed changes to the Electronic Communications Code (ECC), but has insisted that this won’t affect the ‘national roaming’ deal with the mobile operators.
A DCMS spokesman said: ’All 4 mobile operators are clear this won't affect the landmark deal to deliver 90% coverage by 2017. After careful consideration and representation from various stakeholders, the Government has decided to withdraw the tabled Electronic Communications Code from the Infrastructure Bill.
‘The outdated Code is a complex, technical piece of legislation and it was always going to be a challenge to reform. That’s why we based our planned reforms on the Law Commission’s recommendations. However it is clear we need to take the further time to ensure a reformed Code works for all parties. The Government remains committed to delivering this at the earliest opportunity.’
Labour has criticised the changes suggesting that the deal is in fact under threat.
Chris Bryant MP, Labour’s shadow minister for culture and the digital economy, reacting to the Government withdrawing its amendments reforming the Electronic Communications Code said:
‘This is shocking incompetence from the Tories. Before Christmas Sajid Javid boasted of a great deal with the mobile network operators. Unfortunately, he was more interested in getting the press release out than in sorting out the detail, which has now crumbled in his hands and will hit millions of mobile customers who were expecting better coverage.
‘It is a scandal that over nearly five years the Government has done next to nothing to extend mobile coverage or tackle not-spots. A Labour government will introduce proper changes to the Code so mobile users can get the service they need to help them run their businesses and keep in touch with friends and family.’