So, you're all probably aware of the report that was issued today by the UK government, titled: "Digital Britain - The Interim Report".
Having spent this evening wading through the report (accompanied, it has to be said, by the remains of a fine bottle of St Chinian red and some exquisite goat's cheese), let me skip to the conclusion, the very start of which states:
"For Digital Britain, the measurable goals are that by 2012 we should aspire to have:
- Universal Participation in the broadband world.
- Highly capable and robust networks.
- A world leading position in the Communications and Creative Industries.
- High quality digital delivery of essential Public Services."
Now, I may be being a little naïve here and, having not actually lived full-time in the UK for over 14 years, have lost the plot slightly when it comes to what is and isn't realistic about just what is possible in the kingdom of the united (apart from the north-south divide, Scotland and Wales - and, er, Northern Ireland) but, with reference to the above points about what is achievable by 2012, that being - in IT terms - a revolution or two away...
Let's just try and get all of the UK online AT affordable prices AND with something approaching the claimed bandwidth being paid for (regardless of whether this is ADSL, mobile data, whatever...)
There is ZERO excuse NOT to have highly capable and robust networks right now. I work with a number of UK start-ups who can provide ultra-affordable technology that makes any network capable and robust.
World-leading position in Communications and Creative industries? Well, the UK IS the leader in quality music, comedy and films. Just that the government refuses to provide the right levels of assistance to let the rest of the world realise this - Hollywood anyone? And who makes money out of delivering content at the moment?
Delivering public services - so, the paper makes a point about the significant increase in the use of the online tax declaration service. Well, it would, wouldn't it? In other words, what is an essential public service from the government perspective, as opposed to the public perspective (which, of course, might result in approximately 60 million different responses).
I'm not trying to be picky and anti-gov here; just that - as always - these reports just seem out-dated by the time they hit the front pages and naïve to boot? Who does the research and how long before the publish date?
Maybe if the government used blogging instead of commissioned reports...
What really appals me is that, here I am, testing fantastic UK start-up technologies that massively ease the delivery of high-speed Internet services into the home and office (note I'm not talking bandwidth here) yet this report appears oblivious of such technology on its own doorstep. If there is - fat chance - a government official reading this, then please do get in touch.
Anyway - more on this tomorrow, when I have chance to read the report properly but, thus far, I don't see anything that suggests the UK government will strive to financially aid the development of UK broadband delivery. Just ensuring that when someone pays for a 10meg kink, they actually get something approaching 10meg would be a start...