Digital Britain implementation plan: Government seeks control of UK internet domains

The government wants to reserve the right to allocate internet domain names under the implementation plan for Digital Britain published today.

The government wants to reserve the right to allocate internet domain names under the implementation plan for Digital...

Britain published today.

The implementation plan is intended to give effect to its new information-based industrial policy proposed in the final Digital Britain report in June.

Responsibility for implementation falls jointly to David Hendon and Jon Zeff, of the departments of business, innovation and skills, and culture, media and sports respectively. They will oversee a legislative change programme and reallocation of authority to give effect to the new plan.

Changes include:

• Reserving in law the right to control the distribution of domain names through an agency such as communications regulator Ofcom. Nominet presently registers and manages UK domain names in an agreement with US-based Icann (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers).

• Making the promotion of investment in communications infrastructure and content one of Ofcom's principal duties.

• Making Ofcom report every other year on the state of the UK's communications infrastructure relative to technology and competitive nations.

• Allowing Ofcom to order internet service providers (ISPs) to reduce or prevent online copyright infringement by the application of "various technical measures", such as slowing transmission rates.

• Legislation to match penalties for online and physical copyright infringement.

The implementation plan also makes provision for Ofcom to encourage radio broadcasters to merge and to grow their coverage areas, and to give them an extra seven years for analogue broadcasts if they also move into digital audio broadcasting (DAB).

The plan also asks for a revamp of the legislation, regulation and management of television and "public service broadcasters".

It also proposed to adopt a new and strengthened system of classification for boxed video games based on the new Pan-European Game Information (PEGI) system.



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