UK's national digital action plan unveiled

The UK Government has outlined plans to boost the digital and communications industries, which contribute more than £50 billion a year to the UK economy, the BBC reports.

Culture Secretary Andy Burnham outlined the findings of the Digital Britain report to Parliament yesterday and said that it would help Britain secure a competitive low carbon economy in the next five to 10 years.

Lord Carter, the minister for communications, technology and broadcasting, published his wide-ranging report which, as expected, called for everyone in the UK to get access to a broadband speed of at least 2Mbps in the next ten years.

The 22 recommendations in this interim report examined broadcasting and the UK's digital infrastructure, but has still been widely criticised for being woolly and lacking in detail. The central issue is whether the state should pay for the upgrade to the national digital infrastructure or service providers, or a combination of both where is it not economically viable to build out infrastructure.

The final report is due in summer.

The current version's recommendations cover:

"¢ universal access to broadband

"¢ the modernisation of wireless radio spectrum

"¢ a digital future for radio

"¢ digital content rights

"¢ enhancing the digital delivery of public services

The Prime Minister, speaking at the New Local Government Network in central London, said that the digital economy would play a crucial part in lifting Britain out of recession.

Charlie Ponsonby, CEO of  commented,

"There is definitely a digital divide emerging in the provision of broadband to UK homes, with 40% still not having a broadband service - but bridging the divide will be very difficult, due to the cost of subsidizing the service to those who can't afford a broadband subscription or a PC, and the challenge of training those who have never accessed the web before."