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Interim Digital Britain report released
Thursday 29 January 2009 13:01:27 by Andrew Ferguson

The much anticipated and talked about Digital Britain report has been published, and is available as a 1.5MB (MegaByte) download from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

The report covers a broad spectrum of areas, from digital radio to content rights and next generation broadband and makes some 22 recommendations. From a quick read the key points for the broadband community are:

  1. Creation of a group to assess what needs to be done to stimulate next generation broadband roll-out.
  2. The final report will explore whether distributors and rights-holders are willing to fund a new approach to civil enforcement of copyright.
  3. An intention to legislate in relation to peer to peer file sharing, where broadband providers would need to inform alleged infringers of rights that their conduct is unlawful. Also a requirement for providers to collect anonymised data on repeat infringers that will be available to rights holders on receipt of a court order.
  4. A universal service commitment to be effective by 2012. Delivered using a mix of wired and wireless methods. At this time it seems that the options are for speeds up to 2Mbps.

On first read it seems the report falls short of recommending that funds be made available to ensure a true future proof fibre network is rolled out. The USO looks set to probably be delivered by a mixture of first generation broadband solutions, and 2Mbps by 2012 while a step up from dial-up, is going to very quickly be outpaced by applications and changes in internet usage.

The report at least in its interim form reads much more like a summary of where the UK is now, and lays out very little to bring real hope to the 30% of the UK households that have to date not seen the full benefits of a competitive broadband market. Many had hopes the report would provide a clear way forward, but we are left with promises of more watching and assessing.


Posted by boggits over 8 years ago
and I think is the one people are going to get most upset with:

Our response to the consultation on peer-to-peer file sharing sets out our intention to legislate, requiring ISPs to notify alleged infringers of rights (subject to reasonable levels of proof from rights- holders) that their conduct is unlawful. We also intend to require ISPs to collect anonymised information on serious repeat infringers (derived from their notification activities), to be made available to rights-holders together with personal details on receipt of a court order.
Posted by muymalestado over 8 years ago
All in all, like 19th century planners eschewing building any new fangled railways and trying to make the horses go faster. Oh, and have a wee man from the Performing Rights walking in front with a red flag.
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
how is it anonymised if its provided alongside personal details?
Posted by Capn over 8 years ago
They have listened to the consumers but ultimately sided with the holy copyright holders. They believe copyright to be "vital to our content and communications industries" and yet as file-sharing has risen to a point where it is a noticible chunk of internet transfers, sales of such content have continued to rise.
Posted by Capn over 8 years ago
They are genuinely proud of the Memorandum of Understanding, so out comes even more legislation in a hope, that by ISPs spying on their customers and gathering more and more information about peoples private lives, they can make a few more billionaire corporations richer. Whilst customers pay their ISPs for a service that enables them being sued.

The notorious failings of Davenport Lyons in cases of pensioners being slammed with jumped up threats of court action for allegedly downloading hardcore gay nazi porn highlight the inability for reliable evidence being gathered.
Posted by meldrew over 8 years ago
Why can't the meddling government leave commercial forces to decide whether or not they want to join the 21st century or not.

Casually browing in total bored mode I found an amazing website covering many aspects of filesharing called Filesharefreak. Its amazing what goes on out there!
Posted by mishminx over 8 years ago
Interesting that they compare broadband to electricity. Along with the advantages of a pioneering approach to early adoption.

Virgin 200Mb/s by 2012 and BT up to 40Mb/s to 10 million homes by 2010.

Thankfully they also recognised that headline speeds don't always match customer experience. Which if nothing else managed to raise a smile.

Posted by herdwick over 8 years ago
Don't run away with the idea that "Universal" means every home. Read the report.

“universality in terrestrial broadcast networks is considered to have been achieved at 98.5%”


"we expect that, as with today’s USO, the end consumer should, beyond a certain point, make a contribution to the cost of providing connectivity.”
Posted by cyberdoyle over 8 years ago
aye herdwick, you spotted it. What it translates to mean is that BT et al will shore up what they have now, to wring more revenue from their obsolete network. They already expect too much from it. The more people use it the slower it all gets. The only way to supply what this country needs if fibre. Replacing the copper with fibre will provide many jobs, just what the doctor ordered. It will restore wealth, improve health and make a lot of people happy. Better than being in a recession, it could change it all round in one swipe.
Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
cyberdoyle - ' The more people use it the slower it all gets.'

How does fibre from exchange to cabinet or home help this?

Answer - not a lot, it does not affect the core network.
Posted by scragglymonk over 8 years ago
when the laws are changed it will be time to invest in a vpn account as stuff over an encrypted connection can not be monitored by an ISP afaik ?
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Nope, but there's nothing forcing them to allow you to VPN at any speed either. After all, internet forms and such don't need over a few kb/s...
Posted by fox-uk over 8 years ago
Looking at the stats it was recently stated that 7 million people download illegaly.

That's over 10% of the population. Even allowing for a younger bias and many not being of voting age that could leave 5% who could swing an election.

Perhaps the Gov would better spend their time investigating the profiteering by 'rights holders' in the UK?

I do love politics when being immoral and devious comes up with the right result.
Posted by Mr_Fluffy over 8 years ago
Somerset: 'cyberdoyle - ' The more people use it the slower it all gets.'

How does fibre from exchange to cabinet or home help this?

Answer - not a lot, it does not affect the core network'

Fibre from exchange to cabinet removes any excuse for not upgrading the core network - it will be clear where the problem lies once all other excuses are removed!
Posted by Mr_Fluffy over 8 years ago
Mind you, FTTH is what is really needed - the cabinets are just a stopgap
Posted by Mr_Fluffy over 8 years ago
The real problem behind contention is that according to the present state of the art, lit BT Centrals are horrendously expensive, costing ISPs between 10 and 100 times what they are really worth
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
FTTC isn't a "stopgap", it's the only economically defendable fibre rollout.

And I think you need to check your figures re end user vs transit bandwidth...
Posted by cyberdoyle over 8 years ago
The telcos need to sort out the backhaul to the exchange. And do fibre to the home. And then everyone will be happy.
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