Canada: UK Government Issues Final Digital Britain Report

Last Updated: November 30 2009
Article by Matthew D. Wanford

Most Read Contributor in Canada, September 2018

In TLQ 5:1, we reported that the UK government had issued its Digital Britain: Interim Report, which outlines a strategic plan to position the UK as a leader in the global digital economy and to spur growth in the digital and communications industries. Following extensive consultation with key stakeholders and members of the public, the government has now published the final report and accompanying action plan.

The final report sets out a number of recommendations to foster and protect talent and innovation in the UK's creative industries as well as to modernize and upgrade the wired, wireless, and broadcasting infrastructures and support local news. The report also introduces policies aimed at maximizing the social and economic benefits from digital technologies. These measures include:

  • a three-year national plan to improve digital participation by expanding Britons' knowledge of the Internet;
  • the provision of universal access to broadband services by 2012 so that every home in the UK has access to 2 Mbps broadband;
  • the creation of a fund that will invest in Next Generation broadband services;
  • an upgrade of digital radio by the end of 2015;
  • a liberalization of the mobile spectrum, enhancing 3G coverage and accelerating Next Generation mobile services;
  • the development of a robust legal and regulatory framework to combat digital piracy;
  • the provision of support for public service content partnerships; and
  • a consultation on funding options for national, regional and local news.

The report is accompanied by an action plan that sets out the steps for implementing the final report. Previously, we reported on the UK government's intention to consult further on a new rights agency and possible ISP obligations to collect anonymized information on serious repeat peer-to-peer file-sharing infringers and to make that information available to rights holders. The final report now outlines what the UK government considers is a clear path to addressing the problem, aiming to reduce the incidence of unlawful file-sharing by 70 to 80 per cent. The action plan and report detail a number of steps toward achieving this target including:

  • Consulting further on proposals to give Ofcom (the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries) a duty aimed at reducing copyright infringement. The current proposal is that Ofcom will be obligated to take steps aimed at reducing online copyright infringement by requiring ISPs to:
    • notify alleged infringers of rights (subject to reasonable levels of proof from rights holders) that their conduct is unlawful; and
    • collect anonymized information on serious repeat infringers (derived from their notification activities), to be made available to rights holders together with personal details on receipt of a court order.
  • Giving Ofcom "backstop" powers to specify other conditions to be imposed on ISPs, if the notification process outlined above has not been successful after a year in reducing infringement by 70 per cent of the number of people notified. These conditions might include:
    • blocking (Site, IP, URL);
    • protocol blocking;
    • port blocking;
    • bandwidth capping (capping the speed of a subscriber's Internet connection and/or capping the volume of data traffic that a subscriber can access);
    • bandwidth shaping (limiting the speed of a subscriber's access to selected protocols/services and/or capping the volume of data to selected protocols/ services); and
    • content identification and filtering.

The UK government recognizes that the obligations will need to be underpinned by a detailed code of practice and hopes that an industry body (the 'rights agency' envisaged in the Interim Report) will draft these codes for Ofcom to approve. Pragmatically, the government recognizes in the report that Ofcom needs the ability to impose its own code if it is satisfied that the industry cannot produce a code itself and has no immediate prospect of producing one.

  • Consulting further on the trigger mechanism that will give both rights holders and ISPs strong incentives to make the notification system work. The current proposal is for a trigger that the UK government suggests should be calculated by:
    • taking the number of unique individuals notified; and
    • assessing what percentage of those notified have stopped unlawful file-sharing, either voluntarily or due to prosecution.

If that percentage does not exceed or is not significantly close to 70 per cent, the Ofcom "backstop" powers will be triggered.

More recently, the UK government outlined how its thinking has evolved since the publication of the final report, particularly with respect to the proposed use of a 70 per cent trigger, which it now believes would be inappropriate due to the difficulties of measuring unlawful file-sharing activity and the length of time that it would take to implement the proposed measure.

As an alternative, the government has proposed that the Secretary of State have the ability to impose additional powers on Ofcom, taking into account all evidence available to him. The government also included in its follow-up consultation a request for responses on its ideas that:

  • the technical measures or "backstop" powers outlined above be extended to include the ability to suspend a subscriber's account as a last resort; and
  • costs relating to the notification and collection of data on notifications be borne by individual parties, except in relation to the costs of sending notifications, which would be split between rights holders and ISPs.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions