Report on “Digital Britain”

19 03 2009

A new report on new UK effort to strategize called “Digital Britain” seems in tune with the questions posed in TGICM.

The new minister for communications, technology and broadcasting, Stephen Carter promises: ‘We will seek to bring forward a unified framework to help maximise the UK’s competitive advantage.’  He wants to create a wide-ranging “action plan” for the digital media economy that could include greater regulation for the the Internet. Carter, a former Ofcom CEO and Downing Street strategy director, will prepare a report, called Digital Britain, to look at “a range of issues affecting internet users, such as user security and safety and a workable approach to promoting content standards”. The report will “consider what future legislative and non-legislative measures are required to support the development of these critical sectors.” An action plan due in the spring of 2009.

Digital Britain is likely to contain three tiers: (1) proposals that can be set in motion straight away; (2) those that require some legislation; and (3) those that are long-term visions. The report will jump off from recent reports about convergence, including Ofcom’s second review of public service broadcasting. Last month, the culture secretary, Andy Burnham, said the government planned to crack down on the Internet to “even up” the regulatory imbalance with television.<;

The report also will examine how to achieve “universal access to high-quality, public service content through appropriate mechanisms for a converged digital age”. Also covered: broadband development, digital radio, investment in content, spectrum, the Internet, media literacy and IT skills, public service broadcasting and independent production.

Burnham called Digital Britain a “change of gear for the government”. Digital Britain “has at its core an ambition to accelerate the rate of growth, and cement the UK’s position as a world leader in the knowledge and learning economy”, according to the DCMS. Carter said: “Our ambition is to see Digital Britain as the leading major economy for innovation, investment and quality in the digital and communications industries. “We will seek to bring forward a unified framework to help maximise the UK’s competitive advantage and the benefits to society.” The secretary of state for business, Peter Mandelson, said: “For the present financial and banking crisis, Britain must get through the worst and prepare for the upturn. “The digital economy will be central to this. The Digital Britain report will lead the way.”