The Government’s Digital Britain Interim Report was launched with a fanfare. Its primary architect is Stephen Carter, who knows what’s what after his time in Ofcom. But the result is a damp squib and I hope the final report has more ambition and more vision if it is going to set the tone for the UK’s internet future.
Colleagues at Consumer Focus have got some good ideas on what could be done. But the analysis of what’s on offer at present is pretty damning. Philip Cullum, Deputy Chief Executive at Consumer Focus says the Digital Britain Interim report is grounded in the past, focuses on protecting vested interests and old ways of working and living.
An example is the idea of updating the universal service commitment to cover broadband – but only at what will fast become lame duck speeds. Government talks of a minimum universal broadband speed up to 2 Mb by 2012 when other European countries such as Germany and Sweden already achieve average speeds of 4.8 Mb and 7.4 Mb respectively and Finland has set a 100Mb target.
Life in the slow lane or life in the fast lane, my old friend Elna Kotze from the New Economics Foundation used to say to me is not about where you are but who you are. If we want to be Digital Britain, we have to start acting as if we are Digital Britain.