Interim Digital Britain report released
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:
- Creation of a group to assess what needs to be done to stimulate next generation broadband roll-out.
- The final report will explore whether distributors and rights-holders are willing to fund a new approach to civil enforcement of copyright.
- 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.
- 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.