Government aims for UK to be most digital nation in the world

The Government introduced the Digital Economy Bill to Parliament on Tuesday 5 th July 2016, as part of its ambition for the UK to be the most digital nation in the world.

  • Everyone to have the right to fast broadband
  • Automatic compensation for consumers when telecoms suppliers don't deliver as promised
  • Tougher penalties for nuisance callers

The Bill will:

  • Enable the building of world-class digital infrastructure including fast broadband and mobile networks
  • Give consumers the power to connect to the digital networks, such as superfast broadband and 4G, that underpin our economy and society
  • Reform the way government uses data to deliver public services
  • Strengthen protections for citizens in the digital world

Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey said:

"We want the UK to be a place where technology ceaselessly transforms the economy, society and government. The UK has always been at the forefront of technological change, and the measures in the Digital Economy Bill provide the necessary framework to make sure we remain world leaders."

The Bill will also 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, helping to make sure no-one is left behind. The Government aims for the speed to be set at 10Mbps initially, and the Bill will also include a power to direct Ofcom to review the speed over time to make sure it is still sufficient for modern life.

The Bill will put in place a series of measures that will strengthen protections for citizens, helping to make the digital economy safer, fairer and more secure:

  • Protect children from online pornography by requiring age verification for access to all pornographic sites and applications; enforce penalties against spam emailers and nuisance callers unless you have given consent
  • Increase the sentencing options for people who infringe copyright laws online, bringing sentences into line with the current penalties available for "physical infringement"
  • Enable 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.

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