Documents to download

The Digital Economy Bill was introduced in the House of Commons on 5 July 2016, and completed its final stages on 28 November 2016. It was introduced in the House of Lords on 29 November 2016. The Bill consists of seven parts:

  • Part 1 introduces a broadband universal service obligation, entitling consumers to a minimum speed; provides Ofcom with powers to set general conditions that require communication providers to adhere to specified processes in order to facilitate customers changing communications providers on request; and gives Ofcom powers to require communications providers to pay compensation to consumers in certain circumstances.
  • Part 2 repeals the existing Electronic Communications Code and inserts a new code; it also provides Ofcom with powers to regulate “dynamic spectrum access”.
  • Part 3 introduces age verification for online pornography with penalties for non-compliance. It enables the regulator to notify payment service providers and ancillary services of those in breach of the provisions, and provides the regulator with the power to direct internet service providers to block access by persons in the UK to prohibited material.
  • Part 4 updates intellectual property rules for digital industries.
  • Part 5 makes provision for data sharing between public bodies for certain purposes and in certain circumstances. Datasets may be shared to support public service delivery and in relation to public sector debt and fraud, and to produce research and official statistics. There are also specific provisions for sharing data related to civil registration.
  • Part 6 introduces a new statutory code for direct marketing; makes Ofcom responsible for the regulation of all BBC activities; and transfers to the BBC from the Secretary of State the ability to make concessions on TV licences relating to age.
  • Part 7 makes provision for the commencement of the Bill’s provisions and sets out the territorial extent and application in the UK of each of the measures.

Documents to download

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