Small ISPs exempt from filesharing laws

Filesharing measures

Internet service providers (ISPs) with fewer than 40,000 users will not be made to obey the filesharing measures outlined in the Digital Economy Act.

Telecoms regulator Ofcom which has been given the role of writing up the guidelines for implementing the controversial new laws has made the decision to target the larger ISPs which make up the vast majority of the broadband market rather than the meagre five per cent that fall beneath this level.

The act was pushed through during the wash-up phase of the last parliament and called for ISPs to send a number of letters to those suspected of filesharing, before implementing technical measures including bandwidth throttling and even cutting off connections entirely.

Ofcom passed on the news of the 40,000 cut off point to the Internet Service Providers' Association (ISPA) today, according to Trefor Davies, chief technology officer of small scale business ISP Timico, who outlined the rules on his blog.

This means currently only seven ISPs will be forced to fulfill the conditions of the act and mobile operators will be exempt.

However, if you are thinking of moving to a smaller ISP, Ofcom is planning on catching up.

"The long-term ambition is to target those ISPs with copyright infringing consumers," wrote Davies.

"So downloaders who migrate to an ISP not included in the soft launch of the Code will eventually be covered as Ofcom follows the traffic."

The full rules are due to be set out by Ofcom within the next couple of weeks, according to Davies, but the regulator has much work to do before they are finalised.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.