Lords snub last chance to help broadband customers
The House of Lords has thrown out an amendment to the Digital Economy Bill designed to protect broadband consumers.
An amendment tabled by Lord Erroll called for Ofcom to establish a scheme to deal with complaints and faults on broadband lines. The amendment was the first on the list for today’s final reading of the bill in the Lords, but it wasn’t even discussed in the chamber after the party leaders decided to rule it out.
It means consumers will be left to settle their broadband faults with both BT or their broadband provider instead of a one-stop shop, and face an eight-week wait for one of the Ofcom-approved “dispute resolution schemes” to look at a complaint if they end up in dispute with their ISP.
Lib Dem amendment
In other developments, the Liberal Democrats have attempted to soften the controversial amendment that would see ISPs forced to block access to sites illegally hosting copyrighted material.
A further refinement of the amendment states that “any person aggrieved may apply to the court on notice to the copyright owner and service provider to require the service provider to remove or vary the nature of the block”.
It also gives courts the power to demand that copyright owners compensate sites “for any loss or damages, including costs and legal fees” that arise from blocking access to copyrighted content.
The Bill has now passed through the House of Lords and will be sent to the Commons.