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UK Consumer Panel Demand Government Delivers on Digital Britain

Posted: 10th Sep, 2009 By: MarkJ
The Communications Consumer Panel (CCP) has called on the UK government to deliver on its Digital Britain promises. In particular the panel wants to see key pledges, such as a fast / reliable universal broadband service for everybody by 2012 and action to stimulate investment in next-generation broadband, tackled sooner rather than later.

Panel Chair Anna Bradley said that:

The challenge for Government now is to deliver the full package of measures set out in Digital Britain. The Panel wants to highlight three key elements for consumers.
* First, the Panel’s research shows that soon broadband will be essential for everyone so Government needs to press on with plans to implement its universal broadband commitment – by 2012 everyone in the UK needs to be able to use the online services and applications that they value in a reliable and consistent way.

* Second, the Panel believes that action to stimulate investment in next-generation broadband is needed now – the market will only rollout to around two-thirds of the population and the rest should not be left behind. To maximise the benefits for the economy and society, next-generation broadband needs to be available to everyone. In particular, it creates the possibility of delivering public services in really innovative and new ways, and could improve the quality and depth of interaction between citizens and Government, both local and national.

* Thirdly, the Panel supports the strong focus in the Digital Britain report on promoting digital participation. It welcomes the Government’s decision to set up a Consortium to promote digital participation and support it with funding for the next three years.

Technically speaking the Digital Britain report has now entered its implementation phase, though in reality there are still many complexities - both technical and political, to overcome before it can achieve any of its goals. A looming general election is just one factor that may have already caused the 'Next Generation Funds' (50p tax on all fixed phone lines to help fund future broadband deployment) demise.

Elsewhere the debate about which technologies to use for universal broadband continues to polarise views, though recent efforts by the lord of darkness (Peter Mandelson, the Secretary of State for Business) suggest that a Mobile Broadband future is likely to get a lot of support.
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