Digital Britain' report published

From Colin Mann in London

The UK government has published its Digital Britain report, which sets out the importance of the Digital Economy to the nation's economic future, and how it will drive future industrial capability and competitiveness. It makes the case that the United Kingdom's communications infrastructure and increased Digital Participation are key to building a 21st century knowledge economy, and must be considered essential objectives if Britain is to become world-leaders, and reap the benefits of this rapidly transforming sector.

Digital Britain measures include:

– Steps to strengthen and modernise the UK's Digital Infrastructure so the UK can compete and lead globally

– Universal access to today's broadband by 2012, creating equal access for all and a fairer digital future

– A fund for investment in the next generation of superfast broadband to ensure it is available to the whole country, not just some of it

– Digital Radio Upgrade by 2015

– Accelerating current and next generation mobile coverage and services

– Proposed new role for sectoral regulator Ofcom to carry out a full assessment of the UK's communications infrastructure every two years

– Steps to ensure that everyone can share in the benefits of Digital Britain

– Three year National Plan to improve Digital Participation

– Programme of Digital Switchover in public services

– A new Digital Inclusion Champion: Martha Lane Fox

– Revised Digital remit for Channel 4 and key role for BBC

– Guaranteed funding for three years for targeted marketing and outreach

Steps to make the UK one of the world's main creative capitals

– Robust legal and regulatory framework to combat Digital Piracy

– Digital Test Beds to promote innovation, experimentation and learning around creation and monetisation of digital content

– TV Licence Fee: consultation on contained contestability, primarily to secure news in the nations, regions and locally

– A new direction for Channel 4, championing new talent across all digital media

– Guidance note and clarification on the media merger regime and an enhanced evidence role for the regulator in local mergers

– Support for Independently Funded News Consortia

Some of the decisions require action, which will be carried out immediately; some require further consultation or legislation. The Report clarifies areas the areas where legislative change is needed. A Bill will be introduced as soon as Parliamentary time allows.

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