On Thursday 18th April, Stephen Timms, Member of Parliament for East Ham, put forward a question in the House of Commons to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport asking about the policy on competition in the telecommunications market. Stephen asked why the entire rural superfast broadband fund been handed to single company – BT. Stephen asked why competition, promoted by Labour, had been forgotten.
In response, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Ed Vaizey reiterated that Stephen, as telecoms Minister, helped promote competition and congratulated him, describing it as, “great work”. According to the Minister, the process was indeed competitive and, “It just so happens that BT has won the contracts”.
Commenting after the session, Stephen made the following statement, “I am disappointed with the Government response. There used to be all party agreement that competition in telecommunications was in consumers’ interest. But the government has handed its entire half a billion pound subsidy for superfast broadband to one company, to BT. BT is now acting like any private monopoly which has everyone – including ministers – over a barrel”