Little digital Britain

digital-britainI went along to the Digital Britain Summit today, a small affair of 250 people or so in the British Library coming together to debate the welcome strategy that is coming together around new technology infrastructure. We had the political heavyweights,  Brown, Mandelson and Burnham, but also an excellent set of digital entrepreneurs and commentators.

The dramatic report from Consumers International which showed this week that the UK has the worst copyright regime in the world for consumers (come on Intellectual Property Office, admit it – have you no professional pride?) caused some debate.

Conversely, the UK is seen as a competitive broadband and mobile leader (even if customer service has been shoddy at times) but the point was made that we can’t talk about digital Britain without talking about digital Europe. Other stuff that I found interesting is that we are consuming 50% more digital data every twelve months and it is migrating away from the PC, with more people accessing the internet worldwide through mobiles than through laptops and desktops.

The jewel in the crown of the Digital Britain project is the commitment to universal broadband (and also mobile) access – welcome and forward-looking, though at what speed?  My guess, reading between the lines, is that this might come down to whether we as taxpayers will cough up donkeymoney to cover the households that the market will not deliver for through competition.

Good luck to the forces of light on this – because a donkey universal broadband speed  is still a donkey, not yet a new Digital Britain.

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2 thoughts on “Little digital Britain

  1. Actually, Ed, it’s not the Treasury who will have to cough up for universal broadband access. It’s the taxpayers. You know – the ones who are subsidizing the banks, the car industry, and Jacqui Smith’s growing family business (or the Second Home Office, as it’s now known).
    Btw, I had a look at your board members while I was wandering around your site. Wherever did you find them? None of them appears ever to have had what normal people would classify as a proper job. And there are so many of them.
    The danger is, you see, that if we spend too much money on people like you and your mates, we won’t have enough left for these broadband handouts you’re so keen on.
    Something will have to give…

  2. Just thought I would add my twopennorth worth to this blog post. Your comparison of the current broadband USO to a donkey is very apt. I was only thinking earlier of how to make comparisons. Dial up was the tortoise. Adsl is the hare, off like a shot but getting sidetracked and lost on the obsolete copper network and mass of incompetent ISPs. (some gems out there but much dross). The proposed USO is a donkey for sure, 2meg is hardly sufficient for now let alone in 2012. Moblile is like Concord, great when it is working but not available for many areas. The answer to becoming a truly digital britain is to Light the Fibre to every home and business, using existing ducting and providing whatever feed the people want, need, and are prepared to pay for. This undertaking would cost less than the identity cards which nobody seems to want or need, and would provide work for many unemployed tradesmen. It would also bring about a return to the prosperity this great country deserves and bring us out of the recession.As a taxpayer I would rather my money be spent on this than two toilet seats for two jags, or second homes for other useless plonkers who should know better and be setting a good example. Fibre is the next generation of access, and is essential if we are to continue innovating and growing. A 2 meg USO will stifle the prodigies now coming through our schools. Think to the future. Korea’s USO is a Gig. We are going to be left behind if we cling to an phone network to deliver the broadband our children need.

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