Digital Economy Bill 2016 enters Parliament

A new Digital Economy Bill - not to be confused with the 2010 bill - has had its first reading in Parliament, and could bring a few changes to how the internet and broadband are regulated in the UK.

It covers a new universal service obligation (USO) of 10Mb, tougher penalties for spammers and pirates, and some changes to the Electronic Communications Code (ECC).

It's expected to pass through the House of Commons in autumn this year, and go through the House of Lords ready to become a fully approved act in spring 2017.

Some of the key points of the bill are:

  • USO of 10Mb, meaning everyone in the UK will have the right to access broadband with 10Mb download speeds and above
  • Improvements to switching broadband, meaning you could switch broadband in seven working days (currently 10 days)
  • The right to automatic compensation when your broadband service goes awry
  • Rules to make it easier and cheaper for providers to build telecoms infrastructure on private land
  • New rules on Ofcom's regulation of spectrum, and clarifications on the regulator's powers
  • Requiring age verification on porn sites so that kids and teens under 18 can't access them
  • Wider sentencing options for internet pirates, putting online copyright infringement at the same level as physical piracy
  • Harsher penalties for nuisance callers and email spammers
  • Rules about how the government can share data, particularly to gas and electricity suppliers to help combat fuel poverty

Ed Vaizey, digital economy minister, 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."

Take a look at the full bill on if you want the juicy, legalese details.


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