It’s out, after the first reading in the Lords yesterday! The Digital Britain bill that is, now known as the Digital Economy Bill.
After months of debate, lobbying and speculation the proposed detail has been published and at first sight it appears to have bits missing. Of interest to ISPs is that there is a lot of content pertaining to Copyright of online digital content – ie illegal P2P filesharing but nothing regarding the Universal Service Obligation for broadband.
There is clearly some political manouvering going on here. The 50pence tax is already supposedly going to be in the Finance Bill. Word is that the Government doesn’t think that the USO specifically needs to be in any legislation as it will either be covered by the Finance Bill or the money is already there from the Digital Surplus – the fund set aside to help with Digital TV switchover.
By doing this the Government is trying to increase the likelihood of some of the Digital Britain Review becoming law by splitting it up into smaller bits. It is also quite possibly using this to brush under the table that they are going to struggle with the implementation of an USO. They just can’t get their brains round the problem. It is very unfortunate for the millions of Digitally Excluded unfortunates around the UK in suburbs and rural communities alike. I might be wrong about this but I don’t think so.
Also of interest are proposed powers that will allow the Goverment to take over management of Domain Name Registry Nominet if it doesn’t like how it is being run. Nominet has seen some board room action this year with a couple of Directors making a lot of noise over governance. The issue is fairly compicated but I believe that one of the issues was the amount of surplus cash being generated by the not for profit organisation.
Details of the Bill can be found here. Separate post on copyright comes next.