Digital Britain reactions surface
March 30, 2009
About 200 reactions to the interim Digital Britain report have been published. Among highlights are Sky's call for Virgin's network to be opened up to third party services, Virgin's caution on Canvas and general skepticism on anti-piracy plans and the Digital Rights Agency.
Sky says it is “increasingly anomalous” that the cable network is a monopoly and Virgins infrastructure should be opened to competitors. In particular, Sky said the physical ducts should be opened up to allow other firms to lay fibre while avoiding the massive civil engineering costs of digging new trenches. Surprisingly in response, Virgin Media told The Register it was not necessarily opposed to the idea of creating a wholesale cable market, but that it was not a priority. “It’s something we’re cognisant of, but we’re focussed on developing our own products at the moment.”
Meantime, Virgin welcomed the competition authorities timely intervention in response to Kangaroo joint venture proposal and, in a reference to Canvas, said any future proposals must be similar scrutinised. Virgin acknowledged Canvas has "potential consumer appeal" but stressed it must be compatible with cable, terrestrial and satellite as well as internet: "Any content delivered through such an interface should be made available to competing platforms on fair and non-discriminatory terms."
Generally the Digital Rights Agency got a lukewarm response across platforms and rights owners with fears it will be ineffective and only introduce more bureaucracy.