Digital Economy Bill - Committee (4th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:00 pm on 8th February 2017.

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Photo of Lord Puttnam Lord Puttnam Labour 7:00 pm, 8th February 2017

My Lords, I support the amendment but come at it from a slightly different angle. The noble Baroness, Lady Buscombe, will remember that she and I discussed ad nauseam the issues of the EPG and we were very much on the same side. There is blame on both sides here. We failed at the time to persuade the then Government that common sense should make an organised EPG easy to use and that the public service broadcasters should be high on it. Today, if you go across the top bar, find sport and click on it, you will not find any sport on the BBC. You have to go back to the “all channels” menu. It is an absurdity.

We are here to discuss what will become the Digital Economy Act 2017. The notion that in 2017 we are not able to have a personalised programme guide in the same way as we would have on our iPhones, is daft. I am afraid that the blames lies with the then Government, who were persuaded by Sky that it had invested significantly in the EPG and had the right to amortise its investment. Honeyed words were given from the Front Bench that of course this would be reviewed quite quickly. It never has been reviewed and the absurdity of this so-called amortised investment has gone on now for 14 years. I suggest, and hope the Minister will sympathise, that this is the time to get real with this. It is 2017. An EPG should be able to be personalised very easily by the individual consumer and that is the way it should work.