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Harriett Baldwin calls for publication of details of fibre optic routes along main roads


25th April 2013

Harriett Baldwin calls for the Highways Agency to publish details of the fibre optic communication network that runs along main roads.

Harriett Baldwin (West Worcestershire) (Con): If he will make a statement on his departmental responsibilities.

The Secretary of State for Transport (Mr Patrick McLoughlin): Since I last addressed the House at Transport questions, I have appointed members of the franchising advisory panel. I announced in my last statement that Richard Brown will be the chairman. The other members will be Nicola Shaw, chief executive officer of High Speed 1 Ltd; Stephen Paine, managing director of UK investment banking at UBS; Martin Buck, the commercial director of Crossrail; and Michael Holden, chief executive officer of Directly Operated Railways and chairman of East Coast—[Interruption.] For the benefit of the shadow Leader of the House, Nicola Shaw is on the panel. That panel of experts will meet on a monthly basis and help provide reassurance that the franchising programme is on track, and that the correct governance will be followed.

Harriett Baldwin (West Worcestershire) (Con): I thank the Secretary of State for the money he has put in for the pinch-point between the A46 and the M5. In other A46 news, a local village has discovered that fibre optic cable runs along it, and has connected some of the local homes to it. Will the Secretary of State consider asking the Highways Agency to publish information on all roads on the network that have fibre optic cable along them?

Mr McLoughlin: My hon. Friend makes a very good point. It is important that we make proper use of all the infrastructure available, particularly in respect of bodies such as the Highways Agency. My understanding is that the agency makes details of the current fibre optic communication network available to any interested party, but following my hon. Friend’s points, I will speak to the agency and see whether we can do more.

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