COVID-19 Response

Similar to other organisations, ISPA has switched to remote working but we continue to engage with members, policymakers and the media.

Throughout this week our focus has been on:

  1. Helping coordinate and submit a common industry position to government to ensure the sector’s priorities and asks are reflected in the ongoing response, e.g. inclusion of telecoms staff in the key workers definition and potential support for vulnerable consumers.
  2. Responding to members queries around government guidance and any potential restrictions.
  3. Engaging with the media with a particular focus on highlighting the resilience of the UK’s broadband networks.

Updates have been sent to members, including the latest industry position sent to Government, and we will continue to update as things progress and develop. We are coordinating extensively with other trade bodies and directly with members and will continue to engage with Government.

If you have any questions, comments or views, please email

Coronavirus Bill

The Coronavirus Bill (HC Bill 122) has been introduced to parliament and will have its second reading on Monday. The Bill will be fast-tracked and likely be pass all its necessary stages next week. The Bill gives increased powers to the Government to help manage the unprecedented situation. This includes details for shutting down the UK's ports and giving police powers to detain people suspected of having coronavirus. The Bill is limited for two years and covers areas including the NHS, social care, schools, police, Border Force, local councils, funerals and courts.

One significant section of the Bill is designed to enable an increased number of persons to carry out the function of a Judicial Commissioner if as a result of coronavirus there are too few. This is seen as essential to national security and crime prevention. The Bill also enables the timespan of an urgent warrant, which usually lasts five working days, to be extended for up to 12 working days. This flexibility is designed with the intention of guaranteeing national security whilst mitigating any delays resulting from Covid-19, something civil liberties have voiced opposition to.


New-build homes to come gigabit-speed ready

DCMS have announced their plans to amend building regulations to guarantee all new build developments are built with a gigabit capable connections. The legislation will include all new residential dwellings, including conversions and self-built homes but will exclude renovated buildings, schools, hotels and prisons. This will apply to all newbuild homes up to a cost cap of £2,000 per dwelling. If gigabit broadband exceeds the cost cap, the developer must provide at least superfast connection within the same cost cap, unless the operator declines to provide a connection.Consequently, developers will have to ensure broadband companies are on board before construction begins removing the need for retrospectively installing infrastructure post-build. Operators are expected to contribute towards the cost of instillation, assumed to be between £500-1,400 with some larger operators already announcing commitments.

The policy will be introduced as secondary legislation by amending the Building Regulations 2010, meaning it can be introduced quicker, but will only apply to England due to the devolved nature of building regulations.

No time scale has yet been set to introduce the legislation and the Government have stated they will introduce this when Parliamentary time allows.

Broadband Universal Service Obligation goes live

From today (March 20) the broadband universal service obligation comes into effect, meaning every home and business in the UK has the legal right to request a decent, affordable broadband connection from one of two Universal Service Providers (BT & Kcom). Set with a download speed of 10Mbps and upload speed of 1Mbps, the obligation means there will be no cost (up to a maximum of £3,400) to connect a home. An update from Ofcom can be found here.

Written Question the Cabinet and Pole Siting Code of Practice 2013

Responding to Dan Jarvis MP (Lab) Matt Warman, Minister for Digital Infrastructure, wrote that BT Group were signatories of the Code which was revised in 2016. He also said that The Planning Officer’s Society, Historic England, the UK Competitive Telecoms Association, Virgin Media and National Parks England were also signatories.

Written Question on broadband capacity and home working

Warman wrote to Chi Onwurah MP (Lab) revealing that DCMS was in talks with the main broadband providers to ensure networks could accommodate potential peaks in demand arising from Covid-19. He stated that the telecoms networks had prepared for a pandemic and DCMS is comfortable that the plans are extensive and will be able to cope. He confirmed that they would be in regular touch with companies and will keep the situation under review.

Written question on Internet coverage in rural areas

Responding to Lord Mawson, Baroness Barran, Minister for Civil Society and DCMS, stated that the Government was aiming to deliver gigabit-capable broadband by 2025. She also highlighted the Governments £5bn commitment to support this rollout in the most difficult to reach 20% of the country.

Online Safety

Written Question on the Online Harms Bill

Writing to Paul Girvan MP (DUP) Caroline Dinenage, Minister for Digital and Culture, stated that the Online Harms Bill was a priority of the Government which will be brought forward when the Parliamentary schedule allowed.Ofcom

Written Question on the funding of statutory functions of Ofcom related to online harms.

Responding to Chi Onwurah MP (Lab) Dinenage, stated that the Government is considering fees, charges or a levy on companies whose services fall under the scope of the regulator. The Government intends for the new regulator to be cost neutral to the public sector.

ISPA Events

ISPA Awards – written entry form deadline approaches

Technical testing of the ISPA Awards is well underway, and the next deadline for your diary is next Friday 27th March for written entry forms to be submitted. The awards ceremony is scheduled for later this year and will includes the awards ceremony itself, three course dinner with wine, live band and entertainment. The awards categories include the Best Business ISP Best Consumer ISP, Best Consumer Solution, Best Rural ISP, Best New ISP, Best VoIP, and many more..... Further details on timings will be released in due course.

ISPA Conference and 25th ISPA anniversary reception

The annual ISPA Conference will take place on 14th October in the offices of our legal partners Bird&Bird in London.

If you would like to be involved in shaping the agenda, please contact