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17 June 2009

UK phone lines to be taxed and downloaders throttled

16 06 2009 - UK households are to pay a line tax to fund universal broadband (at 2Mbit/s minimum) and multiple copyright offenders will be throttled.

image The new measures were outlined today in the UK parliament upon the publication of what's been billed as a landmark report, Digital Britain, undertaken by ex-cable TV CEO, regulator and now cabinet minister, Lord Carter.

Carter is now resigning, no doubt to take up some lucrative job with a media company.

As we predicted, Carter and the UK government have stopped short of actual Internet disconnection for copyright offences (a la French 3 strikes), but the government is proposing to enable Ofcom to enable ISPs to do a bit of annoying bandwidth throttling (or perhaps site blocking) should warning letters to P2P file sharers fail to do the trick and stop the offending behaviour.

The pro 3 strikes lobby sense a loss of government nerve on the issue, while the pro file-sharing lobby are no doubt looking forward to seeing the measures impplemented so they can find cunning ways to avoid detection.

There will be a rights agency (also a la France) but it's unsure at this point how effective this will be as its ability to impose sanctions and encourage new services appears to have been "watered down" say observers.

The interesting thing is whether the throttling proposals will be able to withstand legal challenge, given the measures included in the EU Telecoms Package designed to enshrine European citizens' rights to Internet access.

Amendment 138, for instance, makes any disconnection subject to proper legal proceedure and other measures in the package are designed to protect users service from degradation by ISPs.

Source: TelecomTV



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