The government needs to implement its 2mbps universal broadband commitment by 2012, stimulate investment in next-generation broadband, and promote digital participation, the Communications Consumer Panel said this morning.
The panel said its research showed that soon broadband would be essential for everyone. However, it also warned that four in 10 people did not see the need, and were unlikely to use broadband even if it were available.
Responding to the Digital Britain report, the panel said it had been arguing for fast, reliable broadband for everyone in the UK; action to stimulate investment in next-generation super-fast broadband, especially for people the market will not otherwise reach; and a strong commitment to get people online and get the most from it.
Panel chairman Anna Bradley said, "The challenge for government now is to deliver the full package of measures set out in Digital Britain."
She said left to itself the market would only serve around two-thirds of the population. "To maximise the benefits for the economy and society, next-generation broadband needs to be available to everyone."
Bradley said broadband could be used to deliver public services in innovative new ways and could improve the quality and depth of interaction between citizens and government.
The panel welcomed a planned social marketing programme and called for it to link to the delivery of services to the six million people most at risk of social and digital exclusion.