The school year is over and to some extent the Connectivity, Content and Consumers publication by the DCMS reads like a newsletter from a large school with the list of achievements and ambitions for the next year. As such there is very little exciting content, we are told that Ofcom will continue its work to produce a gaining provider led migration system which has been in development for a couple of years and there will be changes to the regulation of unwanted marketing calls and text messages.
"Some £1.2 billion of public funds (from central Government, local authorities and the devolved administrations) is being invested to bring broadband to rural communities – arguably those who need it the most*. We have made significant progress: all projects should have completed their procurement phase by the end of summer, moving rapidly to spades in the ground. The current programme will support coverage for 90% of UK households, but we want to go further, and have announced as part of the recent Spending Round a further £250 million investment, to be locally match-funded, to extend superfast broadband to 95% of UK premises by 2017."Extract from DCMS publication Britain's digital platform for growth, (*) our emphasis
The myth that the BDUK process is addressing the problem of rural broadband is perpetuated once more, particularly the comment that it will be delivered to those communities who need it most. Campaigners have steadfastly said that those areas that fall in the gap between "nearly all households and businesses can access at least current generation broadband" should be the first to benefit from the major BDUK investment. Alas the reality is that the roll-out will in the rush to push coverage to 90% initially feature in the towns and villages just outside the commercial footprint where population density is a long way from the real rural world of farms and houses that only just about have mains electricity.
Alas while the document provided a perfect opportunity to set out what will and will not be included in the default Internet safety filters, whereby if someone simply clicks next or enter when setting up their broadband that the filters are automatically on, the document skims over the subject reiterating what has been announced before. The types of content included is very important, the Sky system is believed to include in addition to pornography, suicide, self-harm and violence, worryingly though wired.co.uk canvassed a wider range of providers and "web forums" was a category that would be ticked by default. Now I wonder why we might be worried about that if it is a default option?