Gov't to crack down on file-sharers

The Digital Britain report, which was expected to recommend universal broadband access for UK citizens, has been presented at a press conference. A journalist colleague, David Meyer, who was there, has let me know the top line of what was presented.

The Digital Britain report, which was expected to recommend universal broadband access for UK citizens, has been presented at a press conference. A journalist colleague, David Meyer, who was there, has let me know the top line of what was presented.

The report does indeed recommend that all users have access to broadband up to 2Mbps.

In terms of how this can be achieved, the government said that the market already covers two-thirds of next-generation broadband needs, but that there will be a 50p monthly levy on each copper line to fund next-gen broadband, to cover the remaining third of needs.

Unlicensed filesharers are to have their bandwidth reduced, plus be subject to protocol blocking. Their IDs may also be released for civil actions.

There will be a major telecoms resiliency test-exercise this year.

There will also be an internet crime and security initiative, combining parliament, government, and business.

There will be a consultation on Ofcom penalties for Communications Act 2003 contraveners.

The government is to provide a £23m fund for basic SME IT support.

There will also be more IT training for citizens.

Update: Ben Bradshaw, secretary of state for the department of culture, media, and sport, has just presented a speech to parliament.

Bradshaw said that the government wants next generation fixed broadband left to the market, but that "true, superfast access" will only be available to two thirds of people. To cater for the remaining third, Bradshaw said that there will be "a small levy on all fixed lines to establish a central fund" to pay for broadband access.

Bradshaw said they also needed to "modernise the wireless network".

The government is going to pass laws to restrict file-sharing, Bradshaw added.

"We will legislate to curb unlawful peer-to-peer filesharing," said Bradshaw. "Ofcom will be given the power to [release] identity to enable action by rights holders against serial offenders."

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