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’