Insights Ukie sets out what Queen’s Speech means for the games industry.

Ukie says that universal access to superfast broadband was the headline proposal in the Queen’s Speech.  As part of a Digital Economy Bill, the Government will create a Universal Service Obligation (see above) giving all households and businesses the legal right to have a superfast connection installed.  Ukie explains that this will put broadband on a par with telephone services and other utilities as a universal right.

The Bill will also make changes to planning laws and introduce a new Electronic Communications Code (see above), both with the intent to make it simpler and cheaper to install new broadband and mobile infrastructure.

Separately, Ukie explains, the Bill will also increase the maximum penalty for online copyright infringement, bringing it up to ten years to match the penalty for offline copyright infringement.  This change has long been called for by the creative industries, Ukie says.

According to Ukie, several other Bills may also have an impact on the games industry, particularly in the field of education and skills.

The Education for All Bill will introduce the Government’s plans to turn all schools into academies (although not by force as previously intended).  It will instead focus on schools in “under-performing and unviable” local authorities.  It will also introduce a new National Funding Formula which will “redress historical unfairness” in the funding given to schools in different parts of the country.

The Higher Education and Research Bill will seek to increase choice in higher education by making it easier for new universities to be created, and drive up standards through a new Teaching Excellence Framework.  It will also require universities to publish more information on their applications process, broken down by ethnicity, gender and socio-economic status, to increase recruitment from disadvantaged groups.

The Better Markets Bill will give consumers more power and choice by opening up markets.  Although focused on utilities markets, particularly energy, this Bill may increase or change the powers of the Competition and Markets Authority, which may have a longer-term impact on how games companies are regulated.  To read Ukie’s press release in full, click here.