The UK government will unveil its blueprint for Britian’s digital future today, with the release of the Digital Britain report.
Minister for Communications Lord Carter started work on the project in October 2008, and has overseen a raft of consultation processes covering all aspects of digital broadcasting and communications.
In January 22 specific actions were announced in Lord Carter’s interim report including a commitment to establish a universal broadband service for all homes and businesses by 2012.
While the core interim recommendation grabbing most attention is a commitment towards 2Mbps broadband speeds for all access seekers in the UK, which has already been committed to in April’s budget.
Digital rights management and protection is a key part of the report with the expectation that a solid plan on tackling illegal file-sharing will be handed down. UK ISP’s and carrier’s have been vehemently opposing the “threes strikes, you're out” stance of illegal downloading punishment that has been proposed by the French government.
Under the proposals the BBC may be forced to share part of the television license fee with commercial rivals. The report is also expected to suggest ways to help companies like Channel 4 cope with the impact of the internet.
Lord Carter wrote in the FT yesterday “of all potential areas, traditional broadcasting content is the most complex in untangling conflicting agendas.
“All governments have the means to subsidize and set standards for TV content, defined in Britain by public service broadcasting. The BBC is already a global flagship in that regard. But its mission is rooted in services free at the point of delivery – a cultural rather than industrial policy objective.”
He suggested that the BBC may be granted more freedom to enter new commercial areas, but it “in a way that not only addresses concerns from commercial rivals about the possibility of unfair competition, but genuinely stimulates Britain’s commercial creative industries.”