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Will new Government kill the Digital Economy Bill?

Houses of Parliament

By Barry Collins

Posted on 12 May 2010 at 08:26

The formation of the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition Government has raised hopes that the controversial Digital Economy Bill will be repealed.

Both parties were hugely critical of the bill, which passed through the Commons during the so-called "wash-up" procedure before the General Election.

New Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg, described the passing of the Digital Economy Bill as a "stitch-up" between Labour and Conservative MPs, and a "classic example of what's wrong with Westminster".

It now awaits to be seen whether Clegg and his new Conservative allies have the stomach to repeal the bill, which includes draconian measures for dealing with illegal file-sharing that were introduced by the former Business Secretary, Lord Mandelson.

The new Government is reported to be working on a Great Repeal Bill, which will scrap ID cards, biometric passports and protect trial by jury. It is speculated that the Digital Economy Bill could also be included.

Next-generation broadband

One aspect of the Digital Economy Bill that will remains unclear is the funding of next-generation broadband. The bill originally included a 50p per month levy on landlines to pay for a nationwide fibre rollout, but those plans were pulled at the behest of the Conservatives in the wash-up.

The Conservatives have long stated that they would prefer to see how far private investment will stretch before committing public money to the broadband infrastructure, but most experts believe that at least 10% of the country will be left without next-generation broadband if left to market forces alone.

BT is tomorrow expected to announce that it's expanding its fibre rollout to two thirds of the country.

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User comments


The 50p fund was actually made part of the Finance Bill and then put on hold (100% it will not return now), it did not really figure into the DEA, I think that's the 2Mbps USO you're thinking of.

By Mark535 on 12 May 2010


Oh and the Conservatives stopping being critical of the DEA at wash-up, so it's only the LibDem's who might push for a change.

By Mark535 on 12 May 2010

Mobile broadband is a faster, cheaper alternative.
A £15 per month wireless bill or £10.50 per month just to rent a cable to your local exchange?

Do they think that somone living in the middle of no-where actually wants cabled broadband?

I wonder how many of the people that made these decisions could use a computer; Blare said he couldn't.

By skgiven on 13 May 2010


I live in the middle of nowhere (Wales)and would be delighted to get better than 1Mbps broadband!
I wouldn't mind some mobile phone reception either.

By ralphmorrs on 14 May 2010

Cabling Gaps

My housing area was being built when the cabling was being done. 17 years later we still have none - in the middle of Brighton. It's not just those in the middle of nowhere!

By Brightonian on 15 May 2010

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