Memorandum submitted by the Department
for Culture, Media & Sport and the Department for Trade and
1. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport and
the Department for Trade and Industry have joint responsibility
for Government policy on communications.
2. In December 2000 the two Departments published
a White Paper, A New Future for Communications. That White
Paper set out the Government's proposals for future regulation
of the increasingly convergent communications sector. This memorandum
outlines the work that has been done since the White Paper, both
to take forward those specific proposals and to further the Government's
broader policy aims. Particular attention is paid to those issues
in which the Committee expressed an interest: public service broadcasting;
digital broadcasting and analogue TV switch-off; media ownership;
internet access; broadband networks; technological developments
in the protection of privacy; and the balance struck between intellectual
property rights and individual 'fair use' of broadcast or internet
3. The White Paper set out the overall objectives
of Government policy, which have not changed since.
4. The Queen's speech announced that the Government
would publish, during this session of Parliament, a draft Communications
Bill which would give effect to the proposals set out in the White
Paper. The Government plans to publish the Communications Bill
in draft in the Spring of 2002. This will allow both for a full
public consultation on the detail of the draft and for pre-legislative
scrutiny by a joint Committee of both Houses of Parliament prior
to introduction of the Bill, as soon as Parliamentary time can
5. The pace of change in communications markets is
unpredictable. Nevertheless, change is happening, and the need
for legislation remains clear. As technology develops, markets
fragment and evolve, and public expectations and attitudes change,
it is increasingly important to take a strategic view across the
communications sector. The Government needs to build a regulatory
framework that can adapt to the market as it evolves, and allows
scope to roll back regulation where it is no longer needed, particularly
where competition can take the place of regulatory intervention.
6. Whilst the timing of the Bill's passage cannot
be precisely predicted, it is reasonable to hope that, if it is
introduced early in the Session, it might have completed all of
its stages and have received Royal Assent by the end of the 2002-2003
7. In the meantime, the Office of Communications
Bill was introduced into the House of Lords on 12 July. This Bill
sets up OFCOM without giving it any regulatory powers, allowing
work to begin on developing the structure of, and making appointments
to, the new converged regulator. This should allow OFCOM to get
going quickly after Royal Assent is given to the Main Bill. The
OFCOM Bill completed its Lords stages on 13 December and was introduced
into the House of Commons the same day. The Bill had its Second
Reading in the Commons on 14 January. The Government hopes to
obtain Royal Assent to this Bill by the end of March 2002.
Appointments to OFCOM
8. The Chairman and non-executive members of OFCOM
will be appointed jointly by the Secretary of State for Trade
and Industry and the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and
Sport . These members of OFCOM will then be responsible for appointing
the Chief Executive (subject to the approval of the Secretaries
of State) and any other executive members.
9. The appointment of the Chairman and non-executive
members will be done in accordance with the procedures laid down
in the Code of Practice of the Office of the Commissioner of Public
Appointments (OCPA). The Government will start this process following
the OFCOM Bill's Second Reading in the House of Commons. This
would enable the appointment of a Chair by the Spring, with the
rest of the non-executives in post soon after. The executive appointments
will take longer since the non-executives will need to be in post
in order to begin that process. The entire OFCOM Board should
be in place by the end of the 2002.
What can OFCOM do pending the Communications Bill?
10. Whilst the OFCOM Bill creates OFCOM, it confers
no regulatory function on it at this stage. OFCOM's job will simply
be to prepare to receive future regulatory functions, as well
as assets and liabilities from the five current regulators (Oftel,
the Independent Television Commission, the Broadcasting Standards
Commission, the Radio Authority and the Radiocommunications Agency
(part of the DTI)). This means that OFCOM and the existing regulators
will be able to work closely together, while the Communications
Bill is under consideration, to ensure that OFCOM is positioned
to take on its regulatory responsibilities once the legislation
comes into force.
11. OFCOM will be able to identify and establish
the structure that will allow it in due course to do its
job as a converged regulator across the Communications sector.
It will be able to develop and implement plans for the full range
of detailed transitional issues, including human resources, premises,
finance, information systems and transfers of functions, assets
and liabilities. OFCOM is likely to want to start the process
of consultation with stakeholders on the way that full codes,
licences and authorisations will be established and applied. Where
appropriate it may want to appoint advisory bodies, though this
may fall to existing regulators, whose powers to engage in such
activity will be substantially broader than those of OFCOM as
established under the OFCOM Bill.
12. OFCOM will not be engaging in any regulatory
activity in this interim phase, and will not be able to interfere
with the existing regulatory regimes, which will remain the sole
responsibility of the existing regulators. Its sole function will
be to prepare to take on the role of a regulator once that role
has been determined by parliament.
13. The OFCOM Bill will allow key appointments to
be made, accommodation and employment issues to be addressed,
and the transfer of documents and data to be undertaken where
necessary and appropriate. All of this will lead to OFCOM being
in a position to take on its regulatory activities much sooner
than would have been the case without the paving legislation.
The Government will ensure that Parliament is fully informed of
progress in creating OFCOM and preparing the Communications Bill.
14. The Communications Bill will be a substantial
and complex piece of legislation, designed to create a flexible
and responsive regulatory regime for a dynamic market. It is therefore
essential that the legislation should be carefully considered.
For this reason, following the publication of the Communications
White Paper in December 2000 and the round of consultation that
followed it, the Government plans to publish the draft Bill in
the Spring for a further round of consultation. This public consultation
process will allow the whole of the industry and consumers and
citizens to look at the detail of our proposals and consider their
15. In addition to this, the Government will be inviting
Parliament to establish a joint Committee of both Houses, to undertake
pre-legislative scrutiny of the draft Bill. This will ensure that
the Bill is thoroughly ready for introduction by the beginning
of the next session, if Parliamentary time can then be found.
Timing of the Bill
16. Many expected legislation this session, which
might have enabled OFCOM to be formally up and running by the
end of 2002. However, it is now clear that OFCOM will not be in
a position to assume regulation of the communications sector before
mid 2003 at the earliest; if legislation is secured in the 2002/03
17. However, the Government believes that the introduction
of the Office of Communications Bill will speed up the implementation
of the main Bill's provisions. Much the same timetable on appointments
to OFCOM applies as would had the Communications Bill been introduced
this session. That is to say the full Board would not have been
in place any sooner than we will have on our current timetable.
18. Both OFCOM and the existing regulators will be
able to work together to plan the practical aspects of the move
as they would have done had the full legislation been introduced
earlier. Consequently, the Government hopes that when the Communications
Bill is passed OFCOM will quickly be in a position to take on
its regulatory responsibilities. It is important not to underestimate
the practical difficulties involved in merging five organisations
with differing legal status, from five different sites and with
five very different cultures into one converged unit. Given these
difficulties, even if the Communications Bill had been introduced
in this session it would have been reasonable to expect a long
lead time from the passing of the legislation to OFCOM being ready
to start regulating as it dealt with all the practical issues.
19. The second implication of not taking the Bill
in this session is that more time has been available internally
to work on the drafting of the Bill, and the Bill can be published
in draft in the Spring for further public consultation and pre-legislative
20. The Government believes that if more time and
trouble is taken to prepare this complex legislation properly
then the final result will be that OFCOM will be up and running
without significant delay.
EC Directives : 1999 Review
21. Seven measures comprise the new regulatory framework
for electronic communications networks and services arising from
the European Commission's 1999 communications review. Of these,
five (Framework, Access, Authorisation and Universal Service Directives
and the Spectrum Decision) have now been agreed between the European
Parliament and the Council and are expected to enter into force
later this month or early in February. They are required to be
implemented 15 months later, i.e. in May 2003 at the latest.
22. It cannot be certain that the Communications
Bill will have completed its passage through Parliament by that
point. The measures may therefore have to be implemented by secondary
legislation under the European Communities Act 1972, in advance
of the enactment of the Bill.
23. Of the remaining two measures, the Government
has never intended to implement the proposed Communications Data
Protection Directive through the Communications Bill; rather,
it intends to update the existing Telecommunications (Data Protection
and Privacy) Regulations 1999, again under the European Communities
Act. The Competition Directive a Commission measure, not
subject to negotiation in the European Parliament and the Council
should not require specific implementation as it relates
primarily to the abolition of special and exclusive rights that
no longer exist in the UK.
24. Since the Communications White Paper, there has
been further consultation on the extent to which the Bill should
reform media ownership rules. There have also been notable developments
in some policy areas that are outside the direct scope of the
Development and promotion of digital television
The Digital Action Plan
25. The Government set out its initiatives to promote
digital television in the White Paper: Opportunity for all in
a world of change, published on 13 February; one of which was
to develop a comprehensive action plan to maximise the benefits
of digital television. Details of other initiatives are set out
in Annex A.
26. On 20 December, the Government issued The Digital
Television Action Plan following consultations with industry and
consumer groups. The Plan sets out a series of actions which need
to be undertaken to ensure the switchover from analogue to digital
television takes place; to identify who should lead on those issues
and to set target dates for delivery. The streams of activities
in the plan will be carried out through a number of dedicated
groups. A Market Preparation Group will develop and co-ordinate
a strategy to manage the process of raising the awareness and
knowledge of digital television in both industry and the public.
The Government will keep under review the timing of any Government
led information campaign.
27. On 18 December, in response to the condition
set by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport in
granting approval for new BBC services, the BBC published their
plan for the promotion of digital services.
28. On 10 January, DCMS published an information
leaflet to inform local authorities and landlords on how they
can upgrade existing distribution systems in blocks of flats to
29. On 11 December, the Government launched a three
month consultation on the management of terrestrial TV signals.
The consultation seeks comments on the amount of spectrum which
should be allocated to digital tv in the future. The consultation
also invites comments on whether there should be a minimum level
of geographical coverage of the multiplexes operated by the BBC
and by ITV and Channel 4. The Paper also asks for comments on
the extent to which future planning of spectrum should take account
of the provision of local services.
Section 33 - the progress towards analogue tv switch-off
30. At present, a third or 8m of UK households have
access to digital television. Under the provisions of Section
33 of the Broadcasting Act 1996, the Secretary of State is required
to keep under review the development of digital terrestrial television,
the availability of the existing analogue services in digital
form and the possession of digital receiving equipment, in order
to decide when analogue services might be switched off. In December,
the Secretary of State wrote to the ITC and the BBC to ask for
a report on these matters as required by Section 33.
31. The Viewers' Panel Report published on 28 December
will form part of a wider consultation of viewers.
Development and Promotion of Digital Radio
32. The Radio Authority advise that commercial national
digital radio services now cover over 80% of households. Commercial
local digital radio services cover between 40% and 50% of households
and the Authority continues to advertise new multiplexes, working
towards a target of 80% in the current phase.
33. BBC national digital radio services currently
cover 65% of the UK population. They aim for that figure to rise
to 70% by September 2002, around 80% by the end of 2003, and hit
85% in early 2004. The BBC's five new digital services should
help to drive the uptake of digital radio.
34. Digital Radio Development Bureau (DRDB) is a
joint venture between BBC radio and commercial radio multiplex
operators, formed in April 2001. The DRDB aims to increase the
take up of digital radio in the UK through consistent and effective
marketing, acting to co-ordinate the work of manufacturers, retailers
35. To celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Marconi's
successful wireless transmission across the Atlantic, in December
2001 the DRDB and the UK manufacturer VideoLogic produced a limited
number of special edition portable digital radios at a price of
£99. The radios went on sale for one day only at eight selected
independent electrical retailers, and the offer was promoted on
local and national radio. All sets were sold within thirty minutes
of the shops opening.
36. Goodmans have announced they will launch five
new products featuring digital radio (also known as digital audio
broadcasting, or DAB) in the spring 2002. The products will include
a personal radio/CD player(walkman style), a portable radio/CD
player, a DVD player/radio, a DAB tuner and a car radio/CD player.
All five products will be available in the price range between
£99 and £199.
37. The prices of chips is decreasing, giving manufacturers
the incentive to invest in DAB. For example, a hand-held portable
radio proto-type is now being evaluated by a number of manufacturers
and will come to market later this year. DRDB estimate that by
the end of 2002 there will be 200,000 digital radio products in
BBC new services
38. On 13 September, the Secretary of State gave
the BBC approval to launch new digital services:
- Two new television channels for children - one
aimed at children aged 6-13, another for six year olds.
- BBC4 - a television service intended to create
a 'forum for debate' covering news and current affairs, philosophy,
science, history, art, performance, music and film.
- Five new digital radio services, including a
black music channel and an Asian network.
39. The approval was subject to conditions, including
commitments to high quality, interactivity and the use of home-grown
talent and productions. It gives the BBC the opportunity to create
new programmes which educate and inform as well as entertain.
Overall, the new channels should attract a wider range of viewers
to all digital services. BBC3, a proposed replacement for BBC
Choice, targeted at younger people was not approved as it was
not clear that the proposal was truly distinctive. However the
BBC submitted a new BBC3 application on 4 December, which will
be considered in accordance with the published criteria for BBC
The BBC and OFCOM
40. The degree of regulation of the BBC by OFCOM
was a particular subject of debate before and during the White
Paper consultation. There will be time to debate the issues in
more detail when the draft Communications Bill is published.
41. The Government remains committed to the policy
set out in the White Paper. OFCOM will have an important role
in relation to the BBC. The new three-tier structure of regulation
will be generally deregulatory and will apply to all broadcasters.
The BBC will largely be subject to the same degree of external
standard setting and monitoring as all other public service broadcasters
for each of the three tiers regulated by OFCOM. The aim is to
create a more level playing field and it is an integral part of
the new system to extend the involvement of the external regulator
in the BBC, while increasing the self-regulation of all other
42. The Government's policy is a balanced one, ensuring
the BBC maintains its independence and relationship with the Secretary
of State and Parliament, while bringing it within the overall
43. The BBC's obligations will be imposed principally
by way of amendments to the BBC Agreement. The draft Communications
Bill and details of the proposed amendments to the BBC Agreement
will both be published in the Spring.
44. The BBC's role in the proposed new regulatory
structure is set out in more detail in the briefing and table
attached at Annex B
45. The Communications White Paper made fewer firm
proposals on the reform of media ownership rules than it did in
other areas, but this subject generated a large number of responses
during the consultation period.
46. Having considered these responses, on 26 November
2001 DCMS and DTI published a further paper, Consultation on
Media Ownership Rules, which set out in more detail the key
principles that the Government believes must lie behind any reform,
and put forward some firm proposals and options for change. The
consultation period ends on 25 January. Full proposals on all
aspects of media ownership will then be included in the draft
Communications Bill later in the year. The Government's key principles
may be summarised as follows:
47. Media ownership rules exist to retain the balance
of different media viewpoints that make democracy work, but they
must also promote the most competitive market possible for the
benefit of both industry and consumers.
48. The existing rules are outdated: they are not
flexible enough to respond to the rapid change we have seen in
media markets; they appear inconsistent and directed at particular
areas of the media industries.
49. Given the possibilities of new technologies and
new services to offer consumers a greater choice there may be
less need for ownership rules in the future. In light of this
the Government is determined to be as deregulatory as possible,
and to consider different methods of regulation in the future.
However, legislation must address the present situation, where
most people engage with the media in its traditional forms, and
media ownership rules remain the best way of doing this.
50. Competition law alone is not sufficient. It can
address issues of concentration, efficiency and choice, but it
cannot guarantee that a significant number of different media
voices will continue to be heard, and cannot address concerns
over editorial freedom or community voice.
51. The Government's core aims are:
- to retain a diversity of content from a plurality
- to promote competition;
- to be flexible in allowing legislation to adapt
to changing market conditions;
- to provide as much predictability as we can for
52. The Government wishes to ensure that the benefits
of the Internet are made available to every citizen. In March
2000 the Prime Minister made a commitment that all those who want
it should have access to the Internet by 2005, and in September
2000 the E-Minister and e-Envoy set out a comprehensive strategy
for achieving universal access. The Government remains committed
to the goal of universal Internet access. This is a matter being
taken forward by the Devolved Administrations, and good progress
is being made:
- In England there are currently around
2,100 UK online centres (6,000 by the end of 2002) where you can
access the Internet. These centres are being set up in high-street
shops, village halls, schools, libraries and also in dedicated
mobile centres. Information on local centres can be found at http://www.dfes.gov.uk/ukonlinecentres/
or by phoning 0800-77-1234.
- The Government is on target to have all schools
and libraries online by the end of 2002. More than 60 per cent
of libraries are currently online along with 97 per cent of schools.
- Initiatives such as Wired Up Communities - £10m
for 7 pilot schemes - is putting the Internet directly into the
homes of people from the most disadvantaged communities.
- Recent DfES research shows that since the launch
of the Computers for Teachers scheme 73.4% of teachers are now
confident in the use of ICT.
- By October last year 24,000 low cost recycled
PCs had been delivered to low income families as part of the Computers
Within Reach initiative.
53. Wales has committed funds to implement
the People's Network in libraries. This will allow the number
of terminals in public libraries to increase from 200 to approximately
2000 by the end of 2002.
54. Scotland currently has 223 learndirect
Scotland learning centres in place across the country with a target
of establishing 300 learning centres by the 31st of
March 2002. A proportion of the New Opportunities Fund has also
been committed to implement the People's Network in libraries
across Scotland, providing access to the Internet. In addition
to this the Scottish Executive is launching a £5 million
programme in January 2002 aimed at creating over 1000 new access
points in a wide range of venues accessible by the public.
55. Northern Ireland is developing its libraries
to be public Internet access points and electronic information
and learning centres. Implementation is planned to be completed
by the end of 2003.
56. Recent mapping research estimates that by the
end of 2002 nearly 99% of households in England will be within
5 miles of a public Internet access point, 95% within 3 miles
and 78% within 1 mile. Comparable figures are not available for
the Devolved Administrations.
57. 39% of homes in the UK are online, with 53% having
accessed the Internet at home, work, or at a public Internet access
point. An additional 3 million households have had Internet access
since March 2000, up 11%. These increases have been encouraged
by some of the lowest Internet access prices in the world, and
the availability of flat-rate Internet access packages. Over the
last year, users have been spending an additional two hours per
58. People are beginning to trust the Internet. There
has been a 41% increase in adults buying online - 2.3 million
more than last year. 2 million more are using Internet financial
services, including online banking (up by 45%). To increase the
public's confidence in the Internet, the Government has also developed
a number of initiatives to deal with crime on the internet. Foremost
amongst these has been:
- establishment of the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit;
- launch of a campaign to deal with child protection
on the internet; and
- comprehensive information on how to shop safely
online, and how to seek redress if fraud occurs.
59. Phase two of the UK online campaign was approved
by Ministers in September and started in November with a 500 TVR
40" TV burst of a new TV advertisement, 'Revolution', featuring
a mixture of celebrities such as Stephen Fry and Jenny Powell
and ordinary people. UK online was the first Government campaign
to run on the Sky Interactive platform, whereby consumers could
either get more information on UK online via their TV screens
or send off for an information pack. This was well received, with
a response rate that led Sky to judge it 'one of the best campaigns
ever' to have run. A second TV burst is currently running, having
started on 7th January. In addition to the TV support,
a single UK online freephone number (0800 77 1234) was launched
that people could contact for further information about any part
of UK online, from locating their nearest UK online centre to
finding out more about UK online for business. A campaign website
was also developed for more 'web savvy' consumers. The TV is also
supported by PR activity, including over 70 interviews with local
radio stations featuring Jenny Powell and the UK online 'Internet
Guru', local press competitions and the launch of the UK online
celebrity ambassadors to gain additional media awareness.
60. In addition to activity generated solely by UK
online on of the other successful aspects has been Partnership
activity, such as that featuring Age Concern and Abbey National,
whereby over 55s were given free Internet taster sessions at Age
Concern centres throughout England. The campaign has been at the
top end of expectations generated by modelling tools, with over
67,000 requests for further information and 1.5 million website
hits to date, which makes it the most successful UK online campaign
aimed at the general public.
61. Information and communication technologies are
transforming economies and societies around the world. The UK
has the capability to be a global leader in this new knowledge
economy, bringing wealth and new opportunity for all of us. The
2001 UK online Annual Report (http://www.e-envoy.gov.uk/ukonline/progress/anrep2001/12.htm)
sets out the demanding programme of action that the Government
will be taking over the next year and beyond to ensure that the
UK continues to remain at the forefront of the knowledge economy
and the benefits of the Internet are available to those who want
62. In February 2001, the Government published UK
online: the broadband future. This accompanied the Opportunity
for All White Paper produced by DTI and DfES. These reports
set a new target "For the UK to have the most
extensive and competitive broadband market in the G7 by 2005".
Progress to date
63. The UK online: the broadband future report
committed the Government to establish a Broadband Stakeholder
Group (BSG) to develop a detailed strategy for meeting our target.
In December 2001, the Group presented their first report to e-Commerce
Minister, Douglas Alexander.
64. In parallel to this report, Government published
its own Broadband strategy (see below) as part of the 2001 UK
online Annual Report. This also included a detailed response to
each of the recommendations put forward by the BSG.
65. A £30 million fund has been created to allow
Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) and Devolved Administrations
to develop schemes for extending broadband networks to a wider
group of customers than those who would appear immediately to
be commercially attractive. All fund holders have developed action
plans in consultation with central government, covering a range
of projects to start early in 2002.
66. BT has rolled-out its ADSL service over the traditional
copper loop to 1000 exchanges covering 60% of homes and businesses.
Oftel has required BT to offer its wholesale ADSL product to other
operators and service providers on the same terms as to its own
retail arm. The number of end users of ADSL is now over 120,000
- a five-fold increase since the end of last year.
67. BT reduced its wholesale DSL price by £5
per month in July and has recently announced half-price installation
through to the end of 2001. The advent of self-install DSL modems
could reduce costs permanently.
68. The local loop unbundling framework is now in
place and whilst take-up has been slow due to the economic climate,
LLU has already started to have an impact on prices.
69. Cable companies are providing competition, and
cover 50% of homes. Cable take-up has risen 550% since last year
- there are now 170,000 cable users. NTL's price is now among
the lowest in the OECD and Telewest reduced its price by 25% earlier
in the year.
70. The Government has released spectrum to support
3G mobile and broadband fixed wireless services. Licences for
FWA services covering 60% of the population have been issued.
A number of companies are also developing satellite broadband
71. The Countryside Agency is carrying out research
including current and likely future access to broadband services
and an audit of public/private sector demand as part of its 'healthchecks'
on 140 market towns. Internal audits of 9 market towns have been
carried out and results fed into a demand aggregation study.
72. This accompanies a rolling programme of research
by Analysys. With the Broadband Stakeholder Group it has devised
a 'dashboard' of six indicators to measure the UK's position against
the rest of the G7 in respect of competitiveness, extensiveness
Where do we stand?
73. Market extensiveness: 66% of the population is
now covered by an affordable broadband technology (cable or ADSL,
and shortly Fixed Wireless Access). This is comparable with the
G7 - ahead of France, but behind Canada and Germany. Satellite
holds the potential for rollout in rural areas. The UK has a good
addressable market: many consumers have already bought into flat-rate,
ISDN and iDTV packages.
74. Market competitiveness: Many consumers have a
choice of packages (40% of the population approx.). BT now has
competition for its DSL services from Freeserve and Iomart. The
first unbundled local loops are now operational and there are
signs that this is beginning to impact on price. Overall, the
UK is 4th in the G7 and has Europe's most competitive
broadband market. With continued infrastructure and retail competition
set to rise, combined with increased availability, take-up of
broadband services should follow suit.
The Government's strategy
75. There is no 'magic bullet' which will deliver
a step change in broadband roll-out and use in the UK. Instead,
we need to stimulate a virtuous circle in which demand and supply
grow in parallel, each reinforcing each other. Market players
will be the main drivers of this, but Government can influence
the pace of change.
76. To help set this virtuous circle in motion, we
need first to stimulate adoption of narrowband Internet, as a
key first step on the ladder. In addition we need to:
- Intensify competition in broadband markets, by:
- Continuing to drive forward competition at all
levels, including through competitive access to BT's local loop,
and fair access and interconnection to BT's wholesale DSL and
leased line services
- Making more radio spectrum available, opening
up the possibility of more competition from broadband wireless
- Drive up demand for broadband, by:
- Using tax incentives to stimulate teleworking,
and small business investment in broadband access equipment
- Working with the broadband supply industry to
facilitate an industry-wide collaborative campaign to promote
the benefits of broadband
- Providing more encouragement to SMEs to adopt
broadband, via the £66 million UK online for business programme,
including through a web-based guide to broadband availability
for SMEs and a network of demonstrators of practical applications
- Stimulate production of new broadband content
and applications, by:
- Intensifying marketing of the R&D tax credit
as a driver for R&D in the broadband content sector
- Ensuring that wherever applicable business support
schemes across DTI meet the needs of, and are effectively marketed
to, the digital content sector.
- Stimulating pilots which test different commercial
models around broadband content and facilitate the development
of innovative ideas where the market is not yet mature enough
to do so itself.
- Embedding broadband in the delivery of key public
services (for example through Curriculum Online and Culture Online)
- Establishing a partnership with NESTA to promote
blue-skies research in public sector broadband applications, focusing
initially on broadband learning.
- Facilitate broadband roll-out in rural areas,
- Encouraging infrastructure sharing by industry
to reduce the cost of rollout.
- Facilitating satellite broadband deployment,
with a fast-track, on-line licensing regime and a review of planning
regulations for satellite terminals
- Using more effective procurement of the public
sector's broadband requirements to improve value for money and
in particular to drive broadband into rural areas. Action on this
includes a regional pilot for a new Broadband Brokerage Service,
which will allow companies, public sector organisations, communities
and individuals to register their interest in pursuing broadband,
and then broker aggregated solutions once a pattern of demand
for a particular area has reached critical mass.
77. The Patent Office is responsible for Intellectual
Property (Copyright, Designs, Patents and Trade Marks) in the
78. Technical protection measures (TPM) for copyright
material (such as electronic books, CDs and DVDs) are currently
being developed and applied in order to give right holders more
effective control over unauthorised access to, and copying of,
their works, especially when broadcast or made available online.
79. Legal protection for TPM has been a feature of
UK copyright law since 1989, and will be strengthened as a result
of an adopted EC Directive on copyright and related rights in
the information society (2001/29/EC) which is to be transposed
into national law by 22 December 2002.
80. The provisions in the Directive are based upon
corresponding articles in two new treaties in the copyright field
which were agreed in 1996 under the auspices of the World Intellectual
Property Organisation (WIPO). This general agreement of the international
community to outlaw unauthorised circumvention of technical measures
used by right owners to protect their material against illegal
copying is an important step in ensuring the continuing protection
of copyright material in the digital age.
81. The copyright Directive was the subject of long
and careful deliberations during the process leading up to its
adoption, both in the EU Council of Ministers and the European
Parliament, and seeks to strike a fair balance between the interests
of right owners and those of legitimate users of protected material.
The aim in negotiations has been to maintain those exceptions
to copyright that currently exist in UK law, including that which
allows the recording of broadcast material
for later viewing (time-shifting). The final form of the Directive
is such that viewers' and listeners' existing expectations in
this area can continue to be met.
82. In particular, since national exceptions to rights
could be rendered useless if TPM were applied indiscriminately,
the Directive provides that Member States can take action to ensure
that users can generally still benefit from such exceptions. Moreover,
it is recognised that we are in a period of fairly rapid technological
change, and the Directive also provides for a review mechanism,
including further examination of the impact of TPM on lawful uses
of protected material.
PRIVACY - TECHNOLOGICAL
83. Privacy Enhancement Technologies (PETs) are intended
to assist in safeguarding the privacy of those using electronic
media such as the Internet. This is usually taken to cover various
consumer interests such as lack of knowledge about data sharing,
the availability of informed choice about techniques such as consumer
profiling and the avoidance of exposure to loss of control and
possible identity theft.
84. This is a new area and there is no agreed consensus
on what technologies should be included in this grouping. There
are overlaps in respect of authentication technologies in that
the need to be certain of the identity of the person being dealt
with overlaps with technologies such as digital signatures and
there is a very strong overlap with security technologies (information
can be protected from unwelcome access for a number of reasons
including privacy). Cryptography-based technologies are also used
to protect intellectual property rights.
85. Using recent work by the OECD, the Government
notes the following technological developments in relation to
- Cookie managers or blockers
- While there is considerable uncertainty about
the nature of the threat posed by cookies, consumer concern is
reflected by the availability of a number of products which allow
the management or simply the wholesale rejection of cookies.
- These work in a similar way and allow the user
the opportunity to block the delivery of on-line advertising.
- Cryptographic technologies
- These fall into two categories: one usually
referred to as "encryption" allows data to be
digitally scrambled for secure storage or transmission. The other
is the basis of digital signatures which allow greater certainty
about the identity of the transacting parties. Encryption technologies
have not been widely adopted by individual users to date. Digital
signatures are being encouraged by the Government through creating
a framework (the Electronic Communications Act 2000) and through
the increasing use of such technologies in eGovernment transactions.
- These are web-based applications which act as
intermediaries between users and web sites and thus prevent the
web site identifying the user's IP address. They also offer anonymous
e-mail services. We have no data on the up-take of such services.
- Platform for Privacy Preferences Project (P3P)
- This is a World Wide Web Consortium project to
develop an XML-based method for users to establish parameters
on the release of personal data in web transactions and for web
sites to respect those privacy preferences. If the site is P3P
compliant, a consumer should be able to visit knowing that information
will only flow subject to parameters which he or she has set.
This project is gaining momentum.
- These are web-based services which go beyond
the simple approach of anonymisers. They act more like ISPs where
the account name is a pseudonym and the information relayed to
web-sites is strictly controlled and cookies and other personalised
services are stored at the privacy network server rather than
on the user's computer. This service has attractions in that it
allows most of the advantages of personalisation of services without
compromising personal privacy. We have no data on the use of these
- These services - sometimes referred to as infomediaries
- track consumer surfing and on-line purchasing habits and then
act for the vendor in compiling tailored information on on-line
opportunities thus obviating the need for the user to personally
trawl through web-sites. This results in the service provider
storing significant personal information and the necessity of
trust by the individual that that information will not be misused.
- Proxy servers and firewalls
- These technologies sit between the user and the
internet and allow the user to control access to his browser.
They were designed for security purposes - to control hacking
attacks etc - and are somewhat limited in their ability to control
the flow of personal information.
Government promotion of PETs
86. For the most part, the Government believes the
market should decide which privacy tools are most suitable. It
is supporting the development of PETs as part of its innovation
programme (such as the Managing Information Programme). The Office
of the Information Commissioner also take an interest in and support
the use of appropriate technologies for consumers to protect their
personally identifiable information. The Government works in various
multilateral organisations such as the OECD where
information on such technologies is exchanged.
87. DTI and the Office of the eEnvoy are promoting
information security, including compliance with the regulatory
requirements imposed by the Data Protection Act and European legislation,
through various channels. In particular, the Government is promoting
the value of authentication and firewall technologies.