Today’s major Ofcom study on the UK’s communications networks shows the number of people unable to get a decent broadband has gone down in the UK. Read our plans to do more for rural areas: https://t.co/zaDnEI0d0T

ISPA Conference 2009

Wednesday 2nd December

The fifth annual ISPA Conference took place on Wednesday December 2nd kindly sponsored by Frontporch and Mozy and hosted at the offices of Bird and Bird.

The event consisted of a number of panel sessions throughout the day debating some of the most pressing issues facing the Internet industry. Sessions took place on internet safety, new technologies, peer2peer filesharing and broadband, with a keynote speech from the Minister for Digital Britain, Stephen Timms.

The day was kicked off by ISPA Secretary-General, Nick Lansman, who looked back over some of the highlights and challenges from the previous year and urged those present to enter the soon-to-launch, 2010 ISPA Awards

The first session, chaired by Camille de Stempel from AOL and ISPA Council, focused on internet safety and asked if self regulation could ensure online safety. Appearing on the panel were Malcolm Hutty from LINX, Eve Salomon from the IWF, Henry Watson of the DCSF and Alex Nagle from CEOP. The panellists ran through their support for existing work being undertaken by the Government, law enforcement and other bodies including the IWF. During the discussions it was agreed that debate should encompass all aspects of safety, such as bullying and phishing, and not just child abuse material.

The benefits and challenges to ISPs posed by new technologies was the topic of the second session. Chaired by James Blessing from Garou and ISPA Council, panellists included Dom Robinson from Global Mix, Richard Hales of Mozy and Richard Lindsay-Davies from the Digital TV Group. The discussion focused on the important role that an ISP has with its customers and the ways in which it can monetise and add value to this relationship.  Richard Hales spoke about the value of cloud services, such as back-up, particularly in light of the ever decreasing margins ISPs were working under.  Dom Robinson from Global Mix spoke of the growth of streaming and how the internet economy is a huge value chain that many are inputting into. The panellists and audience agreed that ISPs could be doing more in this area.

After lunch, the Minister for Digital Britain, Rt Hon Stephen Timms, delivered the keynote address. As the minister responsible for implementing Digital Britain by taking the Digital Economy Bill through the House, Mr Timms spoke about two areas - broadband and peer2peer filesharing. The Minister said that the Government was ensuring that all users had a broadband 'safety net' of 2Mbs. He explained that ISPs were supportive of the Government's initial consultation on p2p but that the rights holders had made the case to Government that the technical measures had to be introduced quicker. The audience then questioned the Minister about how broad the Bill was aiming to be, powers to intervene in the .uk registry and how the Government intended to roll out next generation broadband.

Many of these areas were explored in more detail during the third panel session, which looked at the Digital Economy Bill and its impact on ISPs. The session was chaired by Mark Gracey from THUS and ISPA Council, who was joined by Vanessa Mortiaux from Orange, Graham Smith from Bird & Bird, Dr Jeremy Silver from the Featured Artists Coalition and Geoff Taylor from the BPI. The lively and open discussion touched on how balanced the Digital Economy Bill is, the slowness of the record industry to adapt and all panellists agreed that the Internet is a good thing for the creative industries.

The final session focused on broadband and was chaired by Antony Walker - Broadband Stakeholder Group, who was joined by Malcolm Corbett from Community Broadband Network, Clive Carter of Ofcom and Matthew Hare - CINet and ISPA Council. The discussions touched on the lack of investment and overall strategy from Government, but panellists also stated that the case for next generation fibre-to-the-premises had not yet been made. Panellists and audience both agreed that fibre was the future but there was an ongoing policy debate around this that will play out over the coming years.

ISPA would like to thank all speakers, panellists, sponsors and the hosts Bird & Bird for contributing to the success of the day. We hope that all attendees found the Conference useful and interesting, and look forward to welcoming you all again next year.

Please contact admin@ispa.org.uk if you have any questions or would like any further information about the ISPA Conference.

ISPA Conference 2010 Sponsor - Mozy

ISPA Conference 2009 Sponsor - Front Porch

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