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In January 2024, one of the significant developments in the UK telecom sector was the passage of the UK Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure (PSTI) Regulations 2023. 

Why have they been put in place?

The primary objective is to enhance UK consumer connectivity and broadband access by revising and strengthening the Electronic Communications Code. As a result, this improvement in connectivity is anticipated to boost the demand for consumer connectable products that are internet-capable, thereby contributing to the expansion of the ‘internet of things’ (IoT). Such products include smart speakers, smart TVs, wearable technology, and the digital services they facilitate.

What are the regulations?

Part 1 of the legislation regarding product security introduces fresh security mandates for “internet-enabled devices. These regulations mandate security requirements for connectable products, including consumer IoT devices like children’s toys, smoke detectors, smart cameras, and home automation systems. These products must comply with specific security requirements such as minimum password criteria, providing contact information for reporting security issues, and information about the duration of security updates. This legislation is crucial for enhancing the security of internet-connected devices, which has become increasingly important in the telecom sector. Manufacturers need to provide a Statement of Compliance, ensuring adherence to these security requirements, to market their products in the UK. This move is a significant step towards strengthening cybersecurity in the IoT space and reflects the growing focus on digital security in the telecom industry.

Part 2 of the legislation regarding telecommunications infrastructure includes measures designed to expedite the development and spread of mobile and high-capacity broadband networks, like full-fibre and gigabit, throughout the UK. This is achieved through amendments to existing laws, including modifications to the Electronic Communications Code, which governs the installation, maintenance, and utilization of electronic communications equipment by Code operators.

Next steps

Companies should be aware of the regulations and proactively take steps to comply before they become effective on April 29, 2024. The penalties for failing to meet these standards are substantial, emphasizing the importance of ensuring robust cybersecurity protections for consumers. It’s crucial for businesses to understand that enforcement of these regulations is expected to be rigorous and thorough.