Will UK net neutrality be broken by parental controls?

Posted on Jan 19 2016 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on Will UK net neutrality be broken by parental controls?

Most of our readers are well aware of the ongoing debate over the protection of net neutrality and its recent legal protection thanks to the EU. However, it looks like net neutrality could potentially be under threat once again and this time it’s from the UK Government and its plans to protect their existing ‘opt-in’ based parental controls.

The Government already has agreements in place with most of the major ISPs to force Internet users to specifically ‘opt-in’ via their ISP to view sexually explicit or violent material, in an attempt to help protect children from inadvertently seeing unsuitable material online. This means the account holder has to specifically request to turn off any parental control style filters (usually at the point of signup by unchecking a box which is known as an ‘enforced’ option) and all filters will be turned on by default.

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2015 – The year in review

Posted on Dec 15 2015 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on 2015 – The year in review

It’s certainly been an eventful year within the industry, with plenty of innovations and new technologies and trends emerging, an abundance of regulatory changes both UK and EU based, industry process changes with things like the new switching process and channel unrest with a clear backlash against BT’s relationship with Openreach. We’ve tried to keep you up to date and informed about the key issues that affect you and your customers as part of this fascinating channel, as well as providing useful eBooks and sales advice along the way too.

If you missed any of the blog this year and would like a quick recap, why not download our ‘2015- A year of Opinion in review’ eBook and have a catch up over the holidays. Simply enter your email address into the form field below to receive your free copy. 

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Shhh…Don’t talk about the new Snooper’s Charter – But, here are the latest updates!

Posted on Dec 01 2015 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on Shhh…Don’t talk about the new Snooper’s Charter – But, here are the latest updates!

The consultation period for the new Investigatory Powers Bill, nicknamed the Snooper’s Charter 3.0, has begun and the information emerging so far is already raising industry concerns. Mainly the fact that the new data retention orders will potentially only apply to larger ISPs; all affected ISPs will be effectively ‘gagged’ from discussing their involvement; and the consultation period has been significantly reduced to just 3 weeks!

Smaller ISPs unaffected?

According to www.ispreview.co.uk, “the Government already has data retention orders with the biggest broadband ISPs under the existing regime and told the smaller providers that, going forwards, the expectation was for such orders to continue to only be served upon the big boys.”

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Will the new 10Mbps USO solve the final 5% issue?

Posted on Nov 17 2015 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Will the new 10Mbps USO solve the final 5% issue?

Following promises in the 2015 Budget back in March, the Government has finally confirmed plans to introduce a 10Mbps Universal Service Obligation (USO) for all broadband services across the UK by 2020. With the Government already under pressure to complete the superfast broadband rollout to the final 5% of the UK’s most hard to reach communities, we ask will this latest USO help to achieve that goal or cause further issues?

Commenting on the plans Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Access to the Internet shouldn’t be a luxury; it should be a right – absolutely fundamental to life in 21st century Britain. That is why I’m announcing a giant leap in my digital mission for Britain. Just as our forebears effectively brought gas, electricity and water to all, we’re going to bring fast broadband to every home and business that wants it. That’s right: we’re getting Britain – all of Britain – online, and on the way to becoming the most prosperous economy in the whole of Europe.”

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What’s new in the Snooper’s Charter 3.0?

Posted on Nov 11 2015 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on What’s new in the Snooper’s Charter 3.0?

Labour tried it with the IMP (Interception Modernisation Programme), then the coalition Government tried it with CCDP (Communications Capabilities Development Programme). When that failed they morphed it into the Communications Data Bill which also failed, so then the new Tory Government hastily introduced DRIP (Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill) but that has a sunset clause of December 2016. It’s not surprising then that last week yet another new draft Bill was announced – this time it’s called the Investigatory Powers Bill. So what will this latest iteration which has already been widely nicknamed the ‘Snooper’s Charter 3.0’ have in store for us?

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EU misses chance to strengthen net neutrality protection

Posted on Nov 02 2015 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on EU misses chance to strengthen net neutrality protection

Last week the EU rejected further amendments to strengthen the new laws that will essentially protect the concept of net neutrality. Critics argue this leaves the legislation weak and means the Internet could still be susceptible to becoming ‘two tiered’ or having ‘fast lanes’.

The amendments were attempting to restrict ‘overly broad language’ which critics argued ISPs could interpret to allow ‘fast lanes’ and ‘two tiered’ approaches to ensure a certain level of quality for premium services such as IPTV, but they were rejected by a huge majority in the vote. Instead the EU argues that this will be managed by regulators, although at this stage no further details were provided regarding potential punishments for contradiction of the rules.

This is a concern we raised in our recent article “Net neutrality in Europe: Enshrined in law or open to abuse?” and it’s disappointing at this stage to see the EU didn’t go further to protect net neutrality when given the chance. However, looking on the positive side, this is the first time net neutrality has ever been afforded any form of legal protection, so at least it’s a start! If the regulator approach doesn’t work as effectively as they hope, let’s hope the process will be adequately reviewed and updated as necessary. We will have to wait and see.

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Guest Blog: What’s next for communications data law?

Posted on Aug 11 2015 by Guest | Comments Off on Guest Blog: What’s next for communications data law?
Nicholas Lansman, Secretary General, ISPA

Nicholas Lansman, Secretary General, ISPA

Following the recent General Election we’ve seen a number of legal challenges and Government promises regarding the laws and regulations that directly affect our industry, in particular those regarding communications data and surveillance powers. So, what is likely to happen over the next few months and how will we be affected? We invited ISPA’s Secretary General, Nicholas Lansman, to give us his view.

After the General Election, one of the new Government’s first pieces of legislation announced was the Investigatory Powers Bill, set to come before parliament in the autumn and subject to scrutiny by a joint committee. With a proposed new law, recent independent reports and reviews and legal judgements, what is the direction of travel for communications data, and what impact will it have on the communications sector?

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Poll: Should the final 5% broadband coverage be funded by an ISP tax?

Posted on Aug 04 2015 by Gemma Dickinson | 1 Comment

As discussed in our recent article ‘Who will foot the bill for the final 5%?’ we discuss the reported suggestion of an ISP tax to cover the estimated £500 million that will be needed to bring superfast broadband services to the final, hard to reach, 5% of the UK.

What do you think about a potential ISP tax? Do you think it’s necessary and fair in order to reach the final 5%? Or do you think alternative funding methods should be used? Do you think the cost will simply be passed on to consumers through increased prices? Let us know what you think by leaving us a comment below and taking part in our new poll (on the right of the page).

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Who will foot the bill for the final 5%?

Posted on Jul 29 2015 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on Who will foot the bill for the final 5%?

The superfast broadband rollout so far has been funded in a number of ways: BDUK funding (partly from the BBC License fee pot), match-funding from local authorities and a number of Government-led schemes encouraging industry to tender for contracts to reach the 95% target. The “homes passed” numbers are increasing, but reaching the final 5% was always going to be tricky and expensive.

The Government has estimated that it will cost a further £500million to deliver superfast broadband to the last 5% and, due to the predominantly remote locations and diverse geography, standard fibre broadband is unlikely to be suitable. A number of trials are already under way to evaluate the most suitable technology to do the job (e.g. satellite, wireless). But £500 million is a lot of money to find, so where is it likely to come from?

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Has the High Court put a dampener on future snooping plans?

Posted on Jul 22 2015 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on Has the High Court put a dampener on future snooping plans?

The highly controversial DRIPA (Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act) was dealt a further blow last week when the High Court ruled that parts of the current law were unlawful and inconsistent with European Union law.

DRIPA is a temporary law which was brought in to replace the ‘invalid’ RIPA (Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act) following last year’s European Court of Justice rulings but it seems this replacement law has also fallen foul of the courts when queried by Tom Watson MP, David Davis MP and civil rights group Liberty, who worked together to bring the case to court.

Whilst DRIPA is due to be replaced by an allegedly tougher law by the end of 2016, the High Court has ruled that it needs significantly adjusting before that date. By March 2016 the law must be amended to require independent approval to access communications data.

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