Digital Britain report: Government confirms commitment to high-speed broadband

Culture secretary Ben Bradshaw reconfirmed the government's commitment to high-speed broadband as he outlined the key points in the Digital...

Culture secretary Ben Bradshaw reconfirmed the government's commitment to high-speed broadband as he outlined the key points in the Digital Britain report to the House of Commons.

The global technological revolution means that making the right decisions now will enable the UK and its industries to prosper, he said in a statement to the House. "This report spells out how we can make the most of the opportunities today and in the years to come."

The government will create a public fund to pay for its commitment to universal access to broadband services, Bradshaw revealed, as he outlined the main points of communications minister Stephen Carter's report.

The independent national fund will come from a levy on fixed-line phone services and will include funds left over from meeting the costs of the digital TV switchover, he said.

The government will release high-quality spectrum for the creation of next-generation mobile networks, he said.

"This will ensure the UK is among the earliest countries to deploy these networks and that UK consumers will continue to enjoy the benefits of vigorous competition," Bradshaw said.

And, as revealed in Computer Weekly, the government has appointed digital entrepreneur Martha Lane Fox as a digital inclusion champion in an attempt to encourage the take-up of digital technology across the UK. The government's £300m home access scheme will provide funds to give children access to computers and the internet.

Developing legal download markets will best serve consumers and creative industries, said Bradshaw, but piracy for gain is theft, and government will legislate to curb unlawful peer-to-peer file sharing.

Ofcom is to be given the obligation to issue notices to copyright infringers and to relesase the identities of serious infringers to allow rights holders to take legal action. ISPs will restrict the bandwidth of serial infringers if other measures prove insufficient.

The report outlines plans to make all radio services digital by 2012 and to develop public services to encourage people to use broadband.

"The digital revolution has huge potential to improve the services of government and public bodies and reduce costs," Bradshaw said.

The report sets out how public services will be delivered online to make them quicker and more responsive to the public while saving money.

The Digital Britain report will help accelerate Britain's recovery from the biggest economic shock the world has seen since the Second World War, said Brashaw.

"It is an essential part of our industrial strategy, it will be key to our economic growth, social cohesion and wellbeing as a nation and I commend it to the House," he said.



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