Ofcom Report: Only 10% of New U.K. Users Choose Filters

Jul 24, 2014 8:00 AM PST

LONDON — New U.K. broadband users overwhelmingly want their online porn, according to a new communications regulator Ofcom report.

Nearly 75 percent of major ISPs couldn’t get 10 percent of new subscribers to opt for the government-backed “unavoidable choice” porn filters.

The report said four major ISPs including TalkTalk, Virgin Media, BT and Sky fell way short of convincing new sign-ups to block adult and other objectionable material.

All new subscribers to the ISPs were offered the option, with the exception of Virgin Media that came into the game late in Feb. 2014 after the government deadline. The company reportedly only presented its WebSafe filter to 35 percent of customers because it said installers neglected to make the family-friendly offer. The ISP got only a 4 percent sign-up rate.

TalkTalk had the best results, convincing 36 percent of newbies to use the filter, but had an advantage since its HomeSafe product was launched in May 2011.

Sky came in at 8 percent, while BT got 5 percent. BT and Sky launched filter services towards the end of 2013.

The filters were adopted in the U.K. in July 2013 after Prime Minister David Cameron forced ISPs to offer the safeguards that blocked porn by default.

In April 2012, Baroness Howe of Ildicote introduced the Online Safety Bill in the House of Lords. The Private Members Bill required government support before it was made into law.

According to reports, the U.K. government is also working on a porn-blocking filter white list for “legitimate” websites that would unblock sites that teach children about sex or drug abuse.

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