Joint Committee on The Draft Communications Bill Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Supplementary memorandum submitted by Iris Robinson MP MLA

  I write to you in relation to the draft Communication Bill that has recently been published. I have been contacted by concerned organisations in Northern Ireland who have requested that I contact you, because of their belief that the Bill fails to take into account the specific regional differences which Northern Ireland has.

  I understand that Scottish and Welsh MP's have successfully introduced a new clause into the Bill providing OFCOM offices in each of their countries. However, Northern Ireland has not received such a provision and as a result I feel is being unfairly treated.

  Northern Ireland is the only region of the UK which borders another European Union country, and as a consequence over 50 per cent of our mobile phone users suffer roaming onto a foreign network, costing them up to 10 times the cost of a normal local call. Northern Ireland has six times the number of households without any access to fixed or mobile phones than the rest of the UK, clearly indicating a much higher level of social exclusion and specific differences with the rest of the UK.

  Northern Ireland under the current arrangement does have regional offices of the Radiocommunications Agency, the ITC and NIACT and as such handles, on a regional basis, the complaints which arrive specific to this region's needs. I feel that this must continue under OFCOM. Northern Ireland should have statutory regional representation within OFCOM and as such better represent the specific needs of this part of the UK.

  I hope that you will consider favourably my views on this matter and indeed that of the Northern Ireland organisations affected. I feel that it is only fair and proper that Northern Ireland receive equal recognition to that of the rest of the United Kingdom. I would like to thank you in advance for the attention you have shown to me in this matter.

June 2002

previous page contents next page

House of Lords home page Parliament home page House of Commons home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2002
Prepared 5 August 2002