The UK’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport has set out strategic priorities for its review of the media and telecommuncations industries prior to introducing proposals to update existing legislation better to reflect the changes in the sector.
In a foreword to the discussion paper – Connectivity, Content and Consumers: Britain’s digital platform for growth – Maria Miller, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, together with Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, write: “It can, at times, be hard to remember what life was like before smartphones, social networking and catch-up television. The Internet has transformed our lives and, as well as changing the way we interact with each other, new technologies like these – and the digital infrastructure upon which they rely – underpin the UK’s economic ambitions for the future. The UK has built strong digital foundations, and we are reaping the benefits, but in the face of rapid change, we cannot afford to be complacent.”
Following a two-year review of the media and telecommunications sectors, the paper identifies four areas for action:
1) World-class connectivity – As new technologies emerge, from cloud computing to connected TVs, there is an ever greater demand for bandwidths and faster connection speeds. We will continue to deliver the digital infrastructure to support this.
2) World-beating innovative content – Our Public Service Broadcasters are the envy of the world, and are still the driving force behind much of the high-quality UK-produced programming that is in demand at home and abroad. As the online environment changes how we watch TV, we will act to maintain our model of Public Service Broadcasting and we will continue to support wider investment in high-quality, UK content.
3) Consumer safety – The Internet has brought information, knowledge and opportunities, but it can also cause confusion and concern. For example, parents want to know that their children are safe when they are online, just as they want to know they are safe when playing outside. We will act to provide the protections and the standards that people want and expect.
4) Cost of living – In challenging economic circumstances, it is even more important that households are able to choose from a range of innovative and affordable media and telecommunications products and services. We will act to ensure that people have access to the information they need to be able to make the right choices for them, and understand their options for recourse.
“The actions in this paper, many of them delivered in partnership with industry and regulators, will ensure that people and businesses throughout the UK are able to make the most of the digital age,” conclude the Ministers.