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By: MarkJ - 21 July, 2010 (12:18 PM)
ispa uk 2010 internet industryThe UK Internet Service Providers Association ( ISPA ) has today revealed its Roadmap for the Internet, which includes eight recommendations to Government on how it sees the net developing over the life of the current parliament to 2015. Some of the suggestions include measures aimed at resisting network-level blocking and ensuring that the Digital Economy Act 2010 (DEA), for tackling unlawful copyright file sharing (p2p), is proportionate.

Protection for ISPs as intermediaries from liability for content

It is fundamental to fulfilling the potential benefits that the Internet offers that policy-makers are committed to ensuring that providers of Internet services retain their limitations to liabilities. ISPs and Information Society Services in the UK are currently afforded mere conduit status. Without this protection ISPs would be responsible for - and start policing all - content on their networks. This would lead to de facto censorship, with innovation and free speech stifled and added costs and run counter to the Government’s freedom agenda. UK ISPs operate excellent notice and take down services and a more sensible and practical approach to dealing with content is to educate, encourage and empower Internet users to act safely and responsibly online.

Recommendation: A commitment to defend the limitations of liability of intermediary service providers in relation to caching, hosting and as mere conduits under the Ecommerce Directive

Connected to this, ISPA would urge parliament and Government to resist moves to introduce network-level blocking in the UK and ensure that the Digital Economy Act is proportionate, costs are apportioned fairly, does not distort competition and helps the development of innovative, licensed models. As identified in Europe by Commissioner Kroes as part of the Digital Agenda, ISPA would further call on Government to reduce the barriers to a single digital market to boost licensed online content distribution.

Recommendation: The removal of barriers to help promote innovative new online content distribution models

The recommendations also seek a clear plan for future "super-fast" broadband roll-outs, including a review of the treatment of dark fibre. ISPA also believes the Government should be creating an environment where businesses can develop new technologies and solutions.

Nicholas Lansman, ISPA Secretary-General, said:

"ISPA is encouraged that the Coalition Government has made broadband roll out a priority and is consulting widely on its freedom agenda. However, to ensure that the digital economy continues to grow, ISPA has produced a number of recommendations, including greater coordination of internet policy across government, a commitment to defend liability status and a clear plan for broadband roll out.

As the Internet is of such importance to the economy and society, we look forward to working with Government and parliamentarians to take the roadmap forward over the course of this Parliament."

Other recommendations call for the encouragement of innovative new licensing models for online distribution of content and a proportionate approach to the retention of communications data mindful of data protection regulations. The ISPA currently has over 200 members and effectively represents 95% of the UK Internet Access market by volume.
ISPA Roadmap for the Internet

1. Government should review how it coordinates Internet policy across all government departments to promote a cohesive and informed approach to Internet regulation.

2. A commitment to defend the status of intermediary service providers in relation to caching, hosting and as mere conduits under the e-Commerce Directive.

3. The removal of barriers to help promote innovative new online content distribution models.

4. A proportionate approach to communications and interception data that balances the requirements of law enforcement, demands on communication providers and users’ right to privacy.

5. A clear regulatory environment that rewards investment in digital infrastructure to ensure access to faster broadband for all.

6. A review of the current treatment of dark fibre assets with the aim of reducing the obstacles to small scale deployments of dark fibre networks.

7. Change procurement strategies to encourage future proofed solutions and the adoption of new technologies, such as IPv6.

8. An effective partnership approach to online safety between industry, Government, users and law enforcement with public bodies receiving adequate resources.
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