The Digital Economy Act (the “Act“) finally received Royal Assent on 27 April 2017 and the final text has recently been published. First introduced in the House of Commons in July 2016, it has been the subject of much scrutiny and debate by both Houses of Parliament. With the General Election looming, the legislation was passed in a final sweep as part of the so-called “wash up” period before the dissolution of Parliament.
On 8 March 2017, in a speech forming part of the Spring Budget 2017, Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, confirmed that the UK government will invest over £1 billion in the country’s digital infrastructure, targeted at supporting roll-out of full-fibre connections and future 5G communications – with £740 million being invested through the National Productivity Investment Fund.
On 1 March 2017, the Secretary of State for Media, Sport and Culture published its long-awaited strategy for a post-Brexit digital Britain. The UK Digital Strategy aims to support the growth of the UK digital economy. It builds on the framework of the government’s Industrial Strategy green paper published earlier this year.