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ISPs need to get involved in regulatory debate, says Ofcom

Antony Savvas

The internet industry must play a bigger part in future debates about content regulation and consumer protection as traditional broadcast media deliver their content over IP networks.

The call came from Matt Peacock, communications director of the regulator Ofcom, speaking at a reception to mark the 10th anniversary of the London Internet Exchange last week.

Ofcom believes that the growth in the use of IP as a delivery mechanism, driven by local loop unbundling and the development in the future of new fixed wireless access models, will offer opportunities for greater innovation in next generation services, including multimedia content on demand.

As traditional programming is made available over IP networks and the distinction between broadcast and internet content blurs, Peacock said he anticipated there would be a broad public debate over the extent to which it would be feasible and appropriate to apply the traditional broadcast regulatory model to content delivered over IP.

The Communications Act 2003 excludes internet content from the regulatory obligations imposed upon conventional broadcast television and radio content.

"The internet industry will therefore have an important role to play in the debate to come, by working together in areas such as intelligent and consistent meta-tagging, filtering software that is easy to use, and extending media literacy more widely," said Peacock.


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