The European Commission’s over ambitious approach and timeline for the Digital Single Market (DSM) means that there is a serious danger that it will not be delivered, according to a cross section of legal and policy experts.

At an ISPA and Kemp Little event on how the Digital Single Market will regulate the sector, it was clear that the EU had a lot of work to do, particularly when reviewed against previous poor policy harmonisation such as rules around cookies. Pete Farmer of ITSPA said using one set of rules to regulate 28 different telecommunications markets could not work and pointed out that the UK was far more liberalised than other EU Member States. Therefore, attempts to regulate could harm consumer choice and unnecessarily intervene in a successful marketplace. Dean Bubley of Disruptive Analysis added that the EU was not paying sufficient attention on how consumers use communications services, and that any new rules could quickly get out of date.

A second discussion focused on the Commission’s proposal for a ‘duty of care’ to prevent harmful and illegal content. Whilst research behind this was ongoing, panellists said it would be almost impossible to come up with one set of rules that could adequately regulate all types of content and companies in the Internet value chain.

Speaking after the event, ISPA Secretary General Nicholas Lansman said “This event shows that the European Commission needs to do its homework a bit more on these ambitious proposals. The UK communications market is fiercely competitive and a model for the rest of Europe. ISPA will be working with members, EuroISPA and the UK Government to make industry heard in negotiations around the Digital Single Market”.

 Full information about the event is here and a more detailed summary can be obtained by emailing

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 The Internet Services Providers’ Association (ISPA UK) is the voice of the UK internet industry to Government, parliament, regulators, media and the public. For a list of members or other information about ISPA, please visit or see the @ISPAUK twitter page.

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