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The Digital Economy Act: Is it doomed to never happen?

As a further delay hits part of the implementation of the Digital Economy Act, is this just a small hiccup, or is the Act being rendered toothless already? Simon Brew takes a look.

As a result, therefore, of the court's ruling, the decision has been made to delay the implementation of this specific part of the act until 2014. Last month, in the aftermath of the judicial review, the plan was for letters to start going out from ISPs in 2013. And so another year ticks by.

Threat

The delay to 2014 has inevitably led to suggestions that the work of the Act is under some threat. After all, this is going to be a particularly unpopular piece of legislation in some quarters when it actually starts to bite, and as such, that it bares its teeth so close to a general election is one inevitable concern.

The more prominent one, though, is just how relevant the act remains. It's extremely rare to find an act of this ilk that was passed in 2010, yet not enacted for four years, and there's no guarantee that there won't be a further delay either. Given that the path to get this far has been a tricky one, with objections at every turn, it's perhaps unsurprising that the legislation hasn't been straightforward. It arguably didn't help that it was introduced in such a hurry, with a very limited amount of Parliamentary time dedicated to it, before being rubber-stamped into law. The haste of the process inevitably has left problems behind.

With each delay, though, and there's no guarantee that the letters to end users will start going out in 2014, there are bigger questions relating to just what's going to be left at the end of all of this.

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