Digital Economy Bill

commons reasons, amendments in lieu AND AMENDMENT TO

AMENDMENT

[The page and line references are to HL Bill 80, the bill as first printed for the Lords.]

LORDS AMENDMENT 1

Clause 1

1

Page 1, leave out lines 11 and 12 and insert—

 

“(2B)    

The universal service order must specify that the target for broadband

 

connections and services to be provided before 2020 must have—

 

(a)    

speeds of 2 gigabits or more;

 

(b)    

fibre to the premises (FTTP) as a minimum standard;

 

(c)    

appropriate measures to ensure that internet speed levels are not

 

affected by high contention ratios;

 

(d)    

appropriate measures to ensure service providers run low latency

 

networks.

 

(2BA)    

The universal service order must specify as soon as reasonably practicable

 

that, by 2020, the following will be available in every household in the

 

United Kingdom—

 

(a)    

download speeds of 30 megabits per second;

 

(b)    

upload speeds of 6 megabits per second;

 

(c)    

fast response times;

 

(d)    

committed information rates of 10 megabits per second;

 

(e)    

an unlimited usage cap.

 

(2BB)    

In meeting the obligations set out in subsection (1), internet service

 

providers have a duty to ensure that their networks offer at least the

 

minimum standards specified in subsection (2BA) to every household in

 

areas of low population density, before deploying their networks in urban

 

areas.

 

(2BC)    

The Secretary of State must ensure that—

 
 
HL Bill 13056/2

 
 

2

 
 

(a)    

the premises of small and medium-sized enterprises are prioritised

 

in the roll-out of the universal service broadband obligation;

 

(b)    

rollout of universal service broadband obligations is delivered on a

 

fair and competitive basis.

 

(2BD)    

The universal service order shall, in particular, say that mobile network

 

coverage must be provided to the whole of the United Kingdom.”

 

COMMONS AMENDMENTS IN LIEU

 

The Commons disagree to Lords Amendment 1 and propose Amendments 1A, 1B and 1C

 

in lieu—

1A

Page 1, line 12, at end insert “, but may not do so unless—

 

(a)    

it specifies the minimum download speed that must be provided by

 

those connections and services, and

 

(b)    

the speed so specified is at least 10 megabits per second.”

1B

Page 2, line 3, after “as or” insert “, except in the case of the minimum download

 

speed,”

1C

Page 2, line 23, at end insert—

 

“72B  

Broadband download speeds: duty to give direction under section 72A

 

(1)    

The Secretary of State must give OFCOM a direction under section 72A if—

 

(a)    

the universal service order specifies a minimum download speed

 

for broadband connections and services and the speed so specified

 

is less than 30 megabits per second, and

 

(b)    

it appears to the Secretary of State, on the basis of information

 

published by OFCOM, that broadband connections or services that

 

provide a minimum download speed of at least 30 megabits per

 

second are subscribed to for use in at least 75% of premises in the

 

United Kingdom.

 

(2)    

The direction—

 

(a)    

must require OFCOM to review and report to the Secretary of State

 

on whether it would be appropriate for the universal service order

 

to specify a higher minimum download speed, and

 

(b)    

may also require OFCOM to review and report to the Secretary of

 

State on any other matter falling within section 72A(1).”

 

LORDS AMENDMENT 2

After Clause 2

2

Insert the following new Clause—

 

“Bill limits for mobile phone contracts

 

(1)    

A telecommunications service provider supplying a contract relating to a

 

handheld mobile telephone must, at the time of entering into such a

 

contract—

 
 

 
 

3

 
 

(a)    

allow the end-user the opportunity to place a financial cap on the

 

monthly bill under that contract;

 

(b)    

allow the end-user to roam (at no extra charge) to another provider,

 

which meets the specified standards or obligation as provided for

 

in section 3, or to deem the contract to have been terminated by a

 

consistent breach of the standards or obligation as provided for in

 

section 3;

 

(c)    

allow the end-user to switch mobile providers according to rules set

 

out by OFCOM in accordance with the following principles—

 

(i)    

that switching must be free to the consumer, unless the

 

consumer is aware of and has consented to fair and

 

reasonable restrictions and charges to do so;

 

(ii)    

that the switching process itself must be quick, and on an

 

agreed date;

 

(iii)    

that consumers must have access to their consumption or

 

transaction data, and this must be in a format that can be

 

easily reused and they must be able to authorise third

 

parties such as comparison sites to access their data to help

 

them to switch;

 

(iv)    

that sites and tools providing comparisons to consumers

 

that receive payments from suppliers must make clear

 

where the payments affect the presentation of results; and

 

(v)    

that there must be an effective process for consumers to

 

receive redress if there are any problems with the service.

 

(2)    

A telecommunications service provider under subsection (1) must not

 

begin to supply a contracted service to an end-user unless the end-user has

 

either—

 

(a)    

requested the monthly cap be put in place and agreed the amount

 

of that cap, or

 

(b)    

decided, with the decision recorded on a durable medium, not to

 

put a monthly cap in place.

 

(3)    

An end-user may, after the start of the contracted service—

 

(a)    

contact the service provider to require a cap to be put in place and

 

agree the amount of that cap, or

 

(b)    

require a cap to be removed, with the requirement recorded on a

 

durable medium.

 

(4)    

The end-user should bear no cost for the supply of any service above the

 

cap if the provider has—

 

(a)    

failed to impose a cap agreed under subsection (2)(a) or (3)(a); or

 

(b)    

removed the cap without the end-user’s express consent, provided

 

on a durable medium as required under subsection (2)(b) or (3)(b).”

 

COMMONS AMENDMENT IN LIEU

 

The Commons disagree to Lords Amendment 2 and propose Amendment 2A in lieu—

2A

Page 88, line 10, at end insert the following new Clause—

 
 

 
 

4

 
 

“Billing limits for mobile phones

 

Billing limits for mobile phones

 

In Chapter 1 of Part 2 of the Communications Act 2003 (electronic

 

communications networks and services) after section 124R insert—

 

“Billing limits for mobile phones

 

124S  

Mobile phone providers’ duty to enable billing limits to be

 

applied

 

(1)    

The provider of a mobile phone service must not enter into a

 

contract to provide the service unless the customer has been given

 

an opportunity to specify a billing limit in the contract.

 

(2)    

In relation to a contract to provide a mobile phone service—

 

(a)    

a billing limit is a limit on the amount the customer may be

 

charged for provision of the service in respect of each billing

 

period, and

 

(b)    

a billing period is one of successive periods specified in the

 

contract and together making up the period for which the

 

contract remains in force.

 

(3)    

A contract to provide a mobile phone service must provide for the

 

customer on reasonable notice at any time—

 

(a)    

to specify a billing limit if none is specified for the time

 

being,

 

(b)    

to amend or remove a limit in respect of all billing periods

 

or a specified billing period.

 

(4)    

In any billing period the provider must—

 

(a)    

so far as practicable, notify the customer in reasonable time

 

if a limit is likely to be reached before the end of the period,

 

and

 

(b)    

notify the customer as soon as practicable if a limit is

 

reached before the end of the period.

 

(5)    

A limit may be exceeded in relation to a billing period only if the

 

customer agrees after a notification under subsection (4)(a) or (b).

 

(6)    

If the provider continues to provide the service after a limit is

 

reached, the customer’s use of the service does not constitute

 

agreement to the limit being exceeded.

 

(7)    

The provider must give the customer confirmation in writing of—

 

(a)    

the decision made by the customer in accordance with

 

subsection (1),

 

(b)    

any decision of the customer under provision made in

 

accordance with subsection (3), and

 

(c)    

any agreement by the customer in accordance with

 

subsection (5).

 

(8)    

This section applies to agreeing to extend a contract as it applies to

 

entering into a contract, and in that case the reference in subsection

 
 

 
 

5

 
 

(2)(b) to the period for which the contract remains in force is a

 

reference to the period of the extension.

 

(9)    

Nothing in this section affects a provider’s duty to comply with

 

requirements to enable calls to emergency services.

 

(10)    

In this section—

 

“customer” does not include a person who is a customer as a

 

communications provider;

 

“mobile phone service” means an electronic communications

 

service which is provided in the course of a business wholly

 

or mainly so as to be available to members of the public for

 

the purpose of communicating with others, or accessing

 

data, by mobile phone.

 

124T  

Enforcement of duty to enable billing limits to be applied

 

(1)    

Sections 96A to 96C apply in relation to a contravention of a

 

requirement under section 124S as they apply in relation to a

 

contravention of a condition set under section 45, with the

 

following modifications.

 

(2)    

Section 96A(2)(f) and (g) (OFCOM directions) do not apply.

 

(3)    

Section 96A(5) to (7) (action under the Competition Act 1998) do not

 

apply.

 

(4)    

The amount of a penalty imposed under sections 96A to 96C, as

 

applied by this section, other than a penalty falling within section

 

96B(4), is to be such amount not exceeding £2 million as OFCOM

 

determine to be—

 

(a)    

appropriate; and

 

(b)    

proportionate to the contravention in respect of which it is

 

imposed.””

 

LORDS AMENDMENT 40

After Clause 25

40

Insert the following new Clause—

 

“Code of practice for commercial social media platform providers on online

 

abuse

 

(1)    

Within six months of the passing of this Act, the Secretary of State must

 

publish a code of practice about the responsibilities of social media

 

platform providers to protect children and young people from online abuse

 

and bullying.

 

(2)    

The Secretary of State may bring the code of practice into force by

 

regulations made by statutory instrument.

 

(3)    

A statutory instrument containing regulations under this section may not

 

be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before, and

 

approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.

 

(4)    

The code of practice must include—

 
 

 
 

6

 
 

(a)    

the overarching duty of care of internet service providers and social

 

media platform providers to ensure the safety of a child or young

 

person involved in any activity or interaction for which that service

 

provider is responsible;

 

(b)    

the obligation to inform the police with immediate effect if notified

 

that content on social media sites contravenes existing legislation;

 

(c)    

the obligation to remove content with immediate effect if notified

 

that posts on social media sites contravene existing legislation;

 

(d)    

the obligation to have specific terms of use that prohibit cyber-

 

bullying and provide a mechanism for complaints of cyber bullying

 

to be received and for the offending content to be removed; and

 

(e)    

their responsibility to work with education professionals, parents

 

and charities to give young people the skills to use social media

 

safely.

 

(5)    

Commercial social media platform providers must comply with the code of

 

practice, once it is in force.

 

(6)    

The Secretary of State may from time to time revise and re-publish the code

 

of practice.

 

(7)    

The Secretary of State may bring into force a revised and re-published code

 

of practice by regulations made by statutory instrument.

 

(8)    

In this section—

 

“commercial social media platform provider” means a person who

 

operates on a commercial basis an internet site on which people can

 

interact;

 

“cyber-bullying” means material that has the effect of seriously

 

threatening, intimidating, harassing or humiliating children and

 

young people.”

 

COMMONS AMENDMENTS IN LIEU

 

The Commons disagree to Lords Amendment 40 and propose Amendments 40A and 40B

 

in lieu—

40A

Page 88, line 10, at end insert the following new Clause—

 

“Code of practice for providers of online social media platforms

 

         

Code of practice for providers of online social media platforms

 

(1)    

The Secretary of State must issue a code of practice giving guidance to

 

persons who provide online social media platforms for use by persons in

 

the United Kingdom (“social media providers”).

 

(2)    

The guidance to be given is guidance about action it may be appropriate for

 

providers to take against the use of the platforms they provide for conduct

 

to which subsection (3) applies.

 

(3)    

This subsection applies to conduct which—

 

(a)    

is engaged in by a person online,

 

(b)    

is directed at an individual, and

 
 

 
 

7

 
 

(c)    

involves bullying or insulting the individual, or other behaviour

 

likely to intimidate or humiliate the individual.

 

(4)    

But guidance under this section is not to affect how unlawful conduct is

 

dealt with.

 

(5)    

A code of practice under this section must (subject to subsection (4))

 

include guidance to social media providers about the following action—

 

(a)    

maintaining arrangements to enable individuals to notify providers

 

of the use of their platforms for conduct to which subsection (3)

 

applies;

 

(b)    

maintaining processes for dealing with notifications;

 

(c)    

including provision on matters within paragraphs (a) and (b) in

 

terms and conditions for using platforms;

 

(d)    

giving information to the public about action providers take against

 

the use of their platforms for conduct to which subsection (3)

 

applies.

 

(6)    

Before issuing a code of practice under this section, the Secretary of State

 

must consult—

 

(a)    

those social media providers to whom the code is intended to give

 

guidance, and

 

(b)    

such other persons as the Secretary of State considers it appropriate

 

to consult.

 

(7)    

The Secretary of State must publish any code of practice issued under this

 

section.

 

(8)    

A code of practice issued under this section may be revised from time to

 

time by the Secretary of State, and references in this section to a code of

 

practice include such a revised code.”

40B

Page 90, line 12, at end insert—

 

“( )    

section (code of practice for providers of online social media platforms);”

 

LORDS AMENDMENT 237

After Clause 76

237

Insert the following new Clause—

 

“BBC Licence Fee Commission

 

(1)    

The Secretary of State must, by regulations made by statutory instrument,

 

set up an independent body (“the BBC Licence Fee Commission”).

 

(2)    

It is to be the duty of the BBC Licence Fee Commission to make a

 

recommendation to the Secretary of State regarding the level of licence fee

 

required to fund the BBC for the purposes set out in the Royal Charter and

 

Agreement in respect of the settlement from 1 April 2022, and for each

 

successive settlement thereafter.”

 
 

 
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Revised 04 May 2017