Digital Britain

Britain has traditionally been  influential in European policy for telecoms and online content. It is not as loud as France, but in a quieter way, lets its views be known. British  policy was the point from which the EU has taken  its lead, notably in trying to establish a competitive telecoms market, where  the British influence on telecoms policy has been markedly  evident. Britain's competitive telecoms policy was established in the 1980s and 1990s, and has subsequently been implemented by successive governments. Britain now arguably has the most competitive telecoms market globally. It risks losing this influence if we leave the EU.

The current Conservative government has set a policy goal for universal broadband access. However, the structures that govern the industry are problemative for achieving this goal. This makes for some interesting policy analysis.

The government also supports a policy of content filtering, which is problematic.  Content filtering  is contradictory to the government's  aim of leading the world in digital and creating a new industrial strategy.

This section primarily  discusses a previous  policy attempt to amend telecoms law for copyright enforcement in Britain. This was  the Digital Economy Act which was forced through in the dying hours of the last Parliament in May 2010.   These measures  involved the use of network technology against the users, with  implications for the neutrality of the network, and the neutral ‘mere conduit’ status of the network provider. In 2016,  this law has not been implemented, and  from what can be ascertained it is deemed to be unworkable.

If you like the articles in this section, you may like my book The Closing of the Net.

If you are interested in the Digital Economy Act and copyright enforcement policy, you may like my previous books A Copyright Masquerade: How Corporate Lobbying Threatens Online Freedoms and The Copyright Enforcement Enigma - Internet Politics and the ‘Telecoms Package’

Iptegrity deeply regrets the British decision to leave the European Union. I feel that - far from being Indpendence Day or a liberating moment- this decision is a bad sign for democracy in Britain.

The referendum campaign was dominated by propagandist,  manipulative  and bullying commentary from powerful media owners, who sought to silence their critics, and they succeeded in  muffling  the voices of those who believed Britain would have been better to stay in Europe.  We do not know how

Read more: Brexit: a sad day for free speech in Britain

Is fibre to the premises based on a false premise?


 The UK telecoms regulator, Ofcom, is proposing a strategic shift to fibre optic networks to carry our broadband services. A key plank of the strategy is that British Telecom (BT ) should open up its ducts to competitive broadband providers in order to get fibre to the home. This post argues that there is a serious flaw in this reasoning.

Read more: Out for a duct: what chance for fibre to the home?

As the UK regulator, Ofcom, wags its finger at BT, the UK broadband industry remains in a state of uncertainty. What prospect is there for a strategic leap to super-fast broadband as a national 'right'?

Ofcom's 10-year review of the UK telecoms market last week could have been the opportunity to set this country on the path to a revolution in the delivery of telecommunications services, taking it forward for the next couple of decades. Instead, we get a muddled, jargon-ridden document that tweaks the rules but fails to act decisively, and appears to please no-one. The structural reform of the telecoms industry that will be necessary to achieve the government's vision of super-fast broadband, was only nibbled around the edges. A full-on tackle was avoided amid a great deal of smoke and mirrors.

Read more: Ofcom review: Static on the line brings uncertainty for broadband industry

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The Copyright Enforcement Enigma 'accurate and absorbing account of the story of the Telecoms Package' -Journal of International Commercial Law and Technology

'...a must read for those interested in knowing in depth about copyright enforcement and Internet.' -Journal of Intellectual Property Rights.  

Read more  

Copyright Enforcement Enigma launch, March 2012

European Parliament launch for Copyright Enforcement Enigma

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Iptegrity.com is the website of Dr Monica Horten. She is  a trainer & consultant on Internet governance policy, published author& Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics & Political Science. She served as an independent expert on the Council of Europe Committee on  Internet freedom (MSI-INT). Most recently she has worked on projects in the former Soviet states.  She was shortlisted for The Guardian Open Internet Poll 2012. Iptegrity  offers expert insights into Internet policy. Iptegrity has a core readership in the Brussels policy community, and has been cited in the media. Please acknowledge Iptegrity when you cite or link.  For more, see IP politics with integrity

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The politics of copyright

A Copyright Masquerade - How corporate lobbying threatens online freedoms

'timely and provocative' Entertainment Law Review