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 be found.
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
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 Session.
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 session.
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 scrutiny.
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, ie 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 Directivea Commission measure, not
subject to negotiation in the European Parliament and the Councilshould
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 Bill:
Digital Broadcasting: 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 33the progress towards analogue
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 per cent of
households. Commercial local digital radio services cover between
40 per cent and 50 per cent of households and the Authority continues
to advertise new multiplexes, working towards a target of 80 per
cent in the current phase.
33. BBC national digital radio services
currently cover 65 per cent of the UK population. They aim for
that figure to rise to 70 per cent by September 2002, around 80
per cent by the end of 2003, and hit 85 per cent 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 consumers homes.
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 childrenone
aimed at children aged 6-13, another for six year olds.
BBC4a television service intended
to create a "forum for debate" covering news and current
affairs, philosophy, science, history, art, performance, music
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 regulatory structure.
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 of sources;
to promote competition;
to be flexible in allowing legislation
to adapt to changing market conditions;
to provide as much predictability
as we can for business.
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£10
million for 7 pilot schemesis 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 per cent
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 per cent of households in England
will be within five miles of a public Internet access point, 95
per cent within three miles and 78 per cent within one mile. Comparable
figures are not available for the Devolved Administrations.
57. 39 per cent of homes in the UK are online,
with 53 per cent having accessed the Internet at home, work, or
at a public Internet access point. An additional three million
households have had Internet access since March 2000, up 11 per
cent. 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 week online.
58. People are beginning to trust the Internet.
There has been a 41 per cent increase in adults buying online2.3
million more than last year. Two million more are using Internet
financial services, including online banking (up by 45 per cent).
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
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
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 areavailable 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 per
cent 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 120,000a 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 per cent of homes. Cable take-up has risen 550 per
cent since last yearthere are now 170,000 cable users.
NTL's price is now among the lowest in the OECD and Telewest reduced
its price by 25 per cent 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 per cent 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 nine 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 and take-up.
Where do we stand?
73. Market extensiveness: 66 per cent of
the population is now covered by an affordable broadband technology
(cable or ADSL, and shortly Fixed Wireless Access). This is comparable
with the G7ahead 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 per cent 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 fourth 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,
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 UK.
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
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.
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.
These fall into two categories: oneusually
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
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 networks.
These servicessometimes referred
to as infomediariestrack 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 purposesto
control hacking attacks etcand 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 organisationssuch as the OECDwhere
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