Digital Economy Bill 2017 Update

Posted on May 03 2017 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on Digital Economy Bill 2017 Update

Last week the Digital Economy Bill 2016-7 was passed by both Houses of Parliament and now receives Royal Assent which means it will be law imminently. The new legislation brings with it a number of important new implications for the industry (with some last minute changes to be aware of) so we’ve provided a summary of the key points below:

30Mbps USO scrapped in favour of 10Mbps

The 10Mbps USO for broadband has been on the cards for quite some time and its approval comes as no surprise to us. However, quite recently a proposal was passed by the House of Lords to increase this to 30Mbps by the existing 2020 deadline which seemed completely implausible to us. This has since been scrapped and the original 10Mbps confirmed; however a further clause to increase the USO has now been included. The Government will now be able to raise the USO’s minimum speed, once 75% of households have been upgraded to ‘superfast broadband’ services.

A full consultation is now expected to be held to iron out the details of the USO implementation, funding and requirements on industry.

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‘Growing up on the Internet’ – Education is key!

Posted on Mar 23 2017 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on ‘Growing up on the Internet’ – Education is key!

This week the House of Lords’ Communications Committee published a new report, ‘Growing up with the Internet’ which looks at how children should be protected online and sets out a number of new recommendations for industry and Government.

Key recommendations from the report are:

    • We recommend that all ISPs and mobile network operators should be required not only to offer child-friendly content control filters, but also for those filters to be ‘on’ by default for all customers. Adult customers should be able to switch off such filters.
    • Those responsible for providing filtering and blocking services need to be transparent about which sites they block and why, and be open to complaints from websites to review their decisions within an agreed timeframe. Filter systems should be designed to an agreed minimum standard.
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    30 Mbps Universal Service Obligation (USO) – Achievable or over ambitious?

    Posted on Mar 21 2017 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on 30 Mbps Universal Service Obligation (USO) – Achievable or over ambitious?

    Last month we learned that the seemingly ever-changing Digital Economy Bill has been subjected to yet another last minute amendment. This time, following its debate in the House of Lords, Lord Mendelsohn successfully proposed increasing the existing 10Mbps USO to 30Mbps – with 6Mbps upload – by 2020. But is delivering 30Mbps by that date realistically possible and is it a necessary requirement, or over-ambitious overkill?

    The initial plan was for the current BDUK programme to hit its expected 97% coverage by 2020 and then the 10Mbps USO would ensure the same minimum level of connectivity for the remaining 3%. Whilst specific methods and technologies have not yet been confirmed by Ofcom, achieving the existing 10Mbps USO is widely accepted as realistically possible via a variety of technologies that are expected to be delivered predominantly by BT, albeit with other providers in the mix. However, delivering a minimum service of 30 Mbps to 100% of the UK is a whole new ball game!

    Whilst we welcome the desire to increase speeds for consumers and encourage network investment across the industry, we believe this should be achieved through technological developments, not Government-imposed demands.

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    Looks like the IPA and EU can’t co-exist after all!

    Posted on Feb 28 2017 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on Looks like the IPA and EU can’t co-exist after all!

    We previously asked “How can the Investigatory Powers Act ever co-exist with the EU?” and according to the latest industry news reports the answer is – it can’t!

    According to the technology news website, Ars Technica, a spokesperson from the Home Office has confirmed that the implementation of the highly controversial plans for widespread retention of customer data (regardless of whether or not the customer was being investigated for any crime) have been put on hold in response to the ECJ (European Court of Justice) ruling back in December.

    Despite the Government initially stating they had plans to work around the ECJ ruling it seems the plans have now been completely stalled whilst they await a court date for the appeal.

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    Age verification – Essential protection or slippery censorship slope?

    Posted on Feb 15 2017 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on Age verification – Essential protection or slippery censorship slope?

    Late last year news started to emerge that several amends had been made to the already highly controversial Digital Economy Bill (DEB) including the requirements around ‘age verification’ on pornography websites.

    The original plan was to include a note in the DEB to ensure the current optional ‘Parental Controls’ remained available to all customers following changes in EU legislation regarding net neutrality. However, the remit has expanded somewhat and now the DEB wants to implement a ‘tough age verification system’ on all websites displaying ‘adult content’ with ISPs required to block access to any such websites that are non-compliant.

    We discuss whether or not this is necessary to effectively protect children from accessing pornography on the Internet or if it’s a slippery slope towards further censorship?

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    Guest Blog: What will 2017 hold for the industry?

    Posted on Feb 07 2017 by Guest | Comments Off on Guest Blog: What will 2017 hold for the industry?
    Nicholas Lansman, Secretary General, ISPA

    Nicholas Lansman, Secretary General, ISPA

    2017 is once again set to be a big year for the industry with significant policy developments on the horizon. In the coming year, the Digital Economy Bill will become law; there will be changes to Ofcom’s General Conditions; and the Investigatory Powers Act will be implemented. There will also be new Government funding for full-fibre broadband and changes to broadband advertising rules – all against a backdrop of Brexit and political instability. In the light of these developments it is incredibly important that the breadth of Internet industry views are heard and that is where we turn to industry bodies such as ISPA, to ensure we have our say. Nicholas Lansman, Secretary General from ISPA informs us of the key areas they are currently involved in and what we should be aware of in 2017.

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    Bye bye net neutrality, hello state censorship?

    Posted on Dec 13 2016 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on Bye bye net neutrality, hello state censorship?

    Not content with forcing ISPs to store the browsing history of UK citizens (as enshrined into law via the Investigatory Powers Act), the Government now appears to be ignoring the concept of net neutrality with its latest Bill entering the House of Lords. The Digital Economy Bill, due its second reading in the Lords today (13th December 2016), compels websites carrying material which “it is reasonable to assume from its nature that any classification certificate issued in respect of a video work including it would be an R18 certificate” to carry out age verification checks to try and stop youngsters accessing such material. If the sites don’t do this, ISPs will be required to block them. Yet EU net neutrality rules state that all Internet traffic must be treated equally and goes so far as to say that Governments cannot block access to sites that are legal – even if they are distasteful.

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    Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund: welcome but not enough

    Posted on Nov 24 2016 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund: welcome but not enough

    In yesterday’s Autumn Statement the government announced measures that will, in their words, “bring faster and more reliable broadband for homes and businesses across the UK, boost the next generation of mobile connectivity and keep the UK in the forefront of the development of the Internet of Things.” A sweeping glance at the headline text suggests that the investment of £400m into a Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund (DIIF) and tax-relief on full fibre infrastructure are a great step forward for the development of Gigabit Britain, but as usual, the devil is in the detail. And it’s the consideration of the detail that has brought us to the opinion that Chancellor Philip Hammond has achieved nothing more than political manoeuvring aimed at satisfying the calls for more investment in the UK’s fibre communications infrastructure.

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    Goodbye Investigatory Powers Bill, Hello Investigatory Powers ACT

    Posted on Nov 17 2016 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on Goodbye Investigatory Powers Bill, Hello Investigatory Powers ACT

    This has been a year of unthinkable events, so it should come as no surprise that last night the Investigatory Powers Bill (IPB) passed the final hurdle in gaining approval by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. All that’s left for it to become law is to gain Royal Assent – i.e. the Queen has to sign it off.

    Entanet has campaigned hard against the IPB and its previous incarnations. Given the volume of data breaches already this year, as a responsible ISP we consider the collection of every citizen’s browsing history to be a profoundly bad idea; it is inevitable that, at best, there will be scope creep among government departments. At worst, your life will fall into the wrong hands.

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    Guest Blog: The new Government and Brexit: what does it mean for the Internet industry?

    Posted on Jul 27 2016 by Guest | Comments Off on Guest Blog: The new Government and Brexit: what does it mean for the Internet industry?
    Nicholas Lansman, Secretary General, ISPA

    Nicholas Lansman, Secretary General, ISPA

    It has been a busy month since the UK voted to leave the European Union, with a new Prime Minister, a turbulent opposition and a host of new ministers getting to grips with their new portfolios. Amongst all this upheaval ISPA has been working with members to update them on the fast moving developments as well as continuing our core work representing the industry on key policy areas, meeting MPs to discuss rural broadband and the Universal Service Obligation, lobbying on aspects of the Investigatory Powers Bill, plus working on issues as diverse as broadband advertising, age-verification, ISP cyber-security and more.

    So with all this in mind, we’ve asked Nicholas Lansman, ISPA Secretary General, to set out who the sector needs to know in the new Government, the status of some key pieces of legislation and the impact of Brexit on the sector. Read on…

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