One item definitely not in this year’s post-Christmas sales: ISPs estimate that the proposed Digital Economy Bill, the government’s newest effort to combat digital piracy, could cost consumers up to £500 million if it is put into effect.
The bill offers up a graduated response to illegal file sharers, with warning letters being followed by slowed down internet connections and eventual cut-off if they do not cease their activities.
ISPs, according to a report in the Times, claim that the Bill would translate into charges of around £25 per subscriber to execute the measures. While those figures have not been confirmed by independent sources, ministers do say that the initial letter-writing campaign, which could cost £1.40 per subscription to implement, may lead up to 40,000 subscribers giving up their internet connections.
Not everyone is losing out, though: impact assessments for the Bill say it could generate up to £350 million in extra tax for the government, and would bring in an extra £1.7 billion in sales to content owners.
ISPs weighing in with their opposition to the Bill include Talk Talk, the country’s largest consumer broadband provider, as well as incumbent BT (NYSE: BT). Charles Dunstone, the CEO of Talk Talk, is pushing for content providers to pay if the legislation goes through: