Digital Economy Bill introduced to Parliament

The UK Government has introduced the Digital Economy Bill to Parliament.

As part of ambitions for the UK to be the most digital nation in the world, the Conservative Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy, Ed Vaizey, presented the bill to parliament. 

The Bill is focused on the following three points:

  • 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

Presenting the bill, 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".

If passed, the Bill promises to introduce measures designed to protect people online including commitments to:

  • 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

The Bill will have its first debate at the second reading stage, and it is expected to complete its passage through the Commons and move to the Lords in autumn 2016 subject to parliamentary timetabling. Royal Assent is expected in spring 2017. 

The bill can be read in full on the Parliament website

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