100 delegates and 30 speakers discuss the future of the Internet industry at the 2016 ISPA Conference

Over 100 delegates attended the 2016 ISPA Conference at K&L Gates last week to hear from over 30 speakers from industry, Government and the media on the latest developments affecting the UK Internet industry. There were 10 sessions looking at a broad range of topics and some of the key points made at the conference include:

  • Access to talent, currency fluctuations, the investment environment and the fact the UK acted as a bridge into Europe were key Brexit concerns for the sector. Furthermore Ofcom would no longer being bound by EU rules and Europe would lose a pro-industry voice when forming regulations.
  • Most smaller ISPs will not be impacted by the Investigatory Powers Act and there will be a phased implementation.
  • Regulation won’t solve cyber-security issues and Dr Ian Levy explained that the NCSC wanted to collaborate with industry.
  • Openreach CEO Clive Selley said that 140,000 homes will be G.FAST enabled by April and will use a mixture of technologies to deliver the USO.

Many thanks to Radwin, Nokia and Xantaro for sponsoring and to K&L Gates for hosting the conference and we will shortly be releasing details of the 2017 events calendar.


ISPA welcomes new broadband fund, but more could be done to make rollout easier

The Chancellor pledged £1 billion for broadband in the Autumn Statement. The new money includes a £400m Digital Infrastructure Fund for new ‘full-fibre’ connections (to be match funded by industry) and the announcement that new fibre infrastructure will get a 100% Business Rates relief. ISPA supports the Government’s ambition to boost the UK’s broadband infrastructure, especially as it recognises the role of the full range of providers across the UK. However, we also believe the Government could do more to make broadband rollout easier (at very little cost), such as reforming streetworks regulations, the wayleave process and  the planning rules that can delay infrastructure investments.


ISPA: the Digital Economy Bill should not harm the digital economy

ISPA opposes measures in the Digital Economy Bill that will force ISPs to block sites that do not age verify. These measures are disproportionate and have the potential to negatively impact the digital economy. The Internet industry takes online safety seriously, whether it is rolling out free and easy-to-use parental controls or creating the Internet Watch Foundation. We supported the original policy of addressing the issue at source, by targeting the adult sites and the financial services that underpin them, but. the Government has shifted its position and needs to consider the potential harm and disruption it could cause to ISPs. The Bill is now at Report Stage and we will be highlighting how implementing blocking has serious cost, technical and censorship implications. Our press release detailing our concerns is here.


Investigatory Powers Bill passes

The Investigatory Powers Bill gained Royal Assent to become an Act this month. ISPA believes the new law is a positive step as it replaces the various outdated legislation in this area and creates new safeguards, but we are concerned over how the new law will be implemented. The Home Office told the ISPA Conference that providers not governed by the previous laws will most likely not be affected, however ISPs need clarity from the Home Office on what is expected of them.


ISPA supports a review of broadband advertising 

The Advertising Standards Authority confirmed it will undertake a review of broadband advertising this month. The focus has been on the status of ‘up to’ speeds on adverts and ISPA believes now is the right time for a review as broadband has changed dramatically since the current guidelines were set. As the review is being finalised, the ASA needs to look at how the market has changed and how to effectively replace ‘up to’ as currently there is no way to give an estimate of speeds with so many variables affecting speeds beyond an ISP's control and technologies used. The ISPA press release is here.


ISPA in the news

It has been an incredibly busy month for ISPA with the Investigatory Powers Act, broadband advertising review and the Digital Economy Bill progressing through parliament. ISPA featured in BBC News (here, here, here and here too), the Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, Sky News, The Register, Ars Technica, SC Magazine and many more publications. To see full ISPA coverage please click here.