Digital Economy Bill underway
The Government has introduced the Digital Economy Bill to Parliament in a move that should pave the way for the introduction of a new Broadband Universal Service Obligation – giving all homes and businesses the legal right to have a fast connection installed if they request it.
The Bill should also give consumers the power to switch suppliers with ease, including when they buy multiple services from a provider, and make sure providers properly compensate their customers when things go wrong.
Other key elements include:
- Protecting children from online pornography by requiring age verification for access to all pornographic sites and applications; enforcing penalties against spam emailers and nuisance callers unless consent has been given.
- Increase the sentencing options for people who infringe copyright laws online, bringing sentences into line with the current penalties available for “physical infringement”.
- Enabling registered design owners to give notice of their rights more cheaply and flexibly. The Bill will allow businesses to mark their designs with web addresses as a means of flagging the registered design rights they hold.
Royal Assent is expected in Spring 2017.