The Internet Services Providers' Association (ISPA) UK welcomes the publication of the final report of the Digital Britain Review as recognition by Government of the importance of the Internet to the UK’s economy and society.
ISPA Secretary-General, Nicholas Lansman, said, "The Digital Britain Review has played an important role in focussing attention in this area. ISPA welcomes the pragmatic approach to a number of issues taken by Lord Carter and his team and looks forward to working with Government and other stakeholders to carry forward the recommendations."
ISPA agrees that Government policy on the future of Broadband in the UK must ensure the safe and secure delivery of legal content. ISPA notes the consultation on P2P legislation that has been published alongside the Digital Britain report.
ISPA particularly welcomes the recognition of the need for a framework to encourage legal markets for content distribution to develop. As the report notes, it is preferable that the market is left to develop new approaches to content distribution but that the creative industries themselves need to act and provide attractive content packages for online distribution. ISPA members have been engaged in extensive discussions with rights holders and ISPA welcomes recent announcements of new commercial partnerships with rights holders. ISPA advocates the development of new models for the online distribution of content and hopes that this deal will encourage other similar agreements.
ISPA is pleased that the Government has ruled out legislating to force Internet companies to disconnect persistent users of illicit P2P file sharing; a response that ISPA believes would be a disproportionate sanction against users. This is a view that is also held by consumer groups in the UK and further endorsed by the European Parliament and a judgement in the High Court in France. ISPA further welcomes the intention of Government to create a framework whereby action can be taken against repeat infringers through existing legal channels, letting judges, not rights holders, determine lawfulness.
Mr Lansman welcomed the proposals in this area: "I am pleased that the Government has taken the position advocated by ISPA that unlawful online copyright infringement should be reduced through offering viable legal alternatives. ISPA will assess in more detail the obligations on ISPs being proposed, but supports the use of existing legal channels to bring targeted civil action against repeat infringers. ISPA doubts the effectiveness of technical sanctions and would urge that the initial proposals be given every chance to succeed before such sanctions are considered."
ISPA looks forward to discussing these recommendations with Ofcom and Rights Holders and will be responding in full to the consultation.
Universal Service Commitment
ISPA notes that the report outlines recommendations to ensure that everyone in the UK can receive download speeds of 2Mbps. ISPA advocates the increased use of the Internet and is committed to working with Government to ensure everyone who wishes to access the Internet can do so. ISPA would continue to urge the Government to acknowledge the importance of demand as well as supply side issues in ensuring the increased take-up of Broadband.
ISPA welcomes the use of direct public funding to support the Universal Service Commitment and members will work with Government to ensure that this can be delivered using the most effective technologies available.
Next Generation Networks
ISPA welcomes Government efforts to encourage investment in infrastructure to create a competitive market for high speed Broadband for consumers. ISPA notes that the proposal to place a 50pence per month levy on all fixed line broadband households to create a Next Generation Fund was enabled by the 'historic fall in telecoms prices'. In effect customers and the ISP industry are being penalised for successfully bringing prices down.
ISPA is pleased that Government has reiterated its support for effective industry self-regulation to address Internet safety issues. ISPA continues to advocate self-regulation as the best method of protecting users and welcomes Government support for the UK’s success stories, including the IWF and the Home Office Task Force. ISPA also welcomes Government’s acknowledgement of the wider debate about standards on the Internet and that this is a very complex area of public policy. It will be important that Government understands and engages in this complexity.
Notes to the editor:
The Internet Services Providers’ Association (ISPA) was established in 1995 as a trade association to represent providers of Internet services in the UK. ISPA promotes competition, self-regulation and the development of the Internet industry. For a list of members or other information about ISPA, please consult the website: www.ispa.org.uk.
The views expressed in this release are those of the Internet Services Providers’ Association (ISPA) and do not necessarily reflect the corporate policies of the individual companies that are members of the Association or other organisations that may be mentioned in the release. For further editorial information please contact the ISPA Press Office (020 7340 8741).