Government Reveals True Cost Of Filesharing Clampdown

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The Government has revealed that its Internet piracy measures will cost consumers £500 million, or an additional £25 a year for each broadband connection

The sobering reality of the costs involved for the Government’s Digital Economy Bill, which aims to clamp down on illegial file-sharing, has been revealed.

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It was back in November that the Government’s two-stage strategy to combat illegal file-sharing was outlined during the Queen’s Speech. The measures, which have been championed by Lord Mandelson, consists of an escalating series of sanctions.

The first stage will consist of sending letters to illegal downloaders and passing their details on to media companies, which have the option of launching their own legal actions. The second phase could involve a number of technical measures including slowing down the connection speed of offenders or temporarily suspending their connections.

However the measures for combating illegal file-sharing, which is expected to become law next year, have been slammed by both the UK Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) and broadband internet service provider (ISP) TalkTalk.

And now the Government, in its impact assessment (PDF) document, has estimated that the measures will cost consumers up to £500 million. ISPs meanwhile have estimated that it will add an extra £25 a year to the cost of a broadband connection.

The Government’s impact assessment (PDF) document also estimates that around 40,000 households will give up their broadband connections entirely to avoid the higher fees.

The document also estimates that the measures will result consumers paying between £290 and £500 million extra over the next ten years, as ISPs pass their increased costs on to consumers.

“It is grossly unfair that Labour expects millions of innocent customers to pay extra each month because of the actions of a minority,” Jeremy Hunt, the shadow culture secretary, told the Times newspaper. “By their own admission this will make broadband unaffordable to tens of thousands of people, which flies in the face of Government policy to increase take-up in disadvantaged communities.”


Author: Tom Jowitt
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