Consumers will support the government's plan to introduce a universal 2Mbps broadband service, says the Communications Consumer panel.
In a letter to communications minister Stephen Carter, who is preparing the final report on Digital Britain, panel chairman Anna Bradley said research by the panel provided clear support for the government's proposed universal broadband commitment, to be implemented by 2012.
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The research showed that
• Broadband at home is on the cusp between being useful and being essential.
• Some already see it as essential for themselves, especially those who are used to having broadband at home.
• Broadband is essential for some groups already. These are families with school-age children and people who are physically isolated or socially excluded.
• Broadband will soon be essential for all.
• The tipping point will be when broadband does not just provide an advantage to people who have it, but disadvantages people who do not.
Bradley said the most popular and important activities were finding information, communicating and transacting online. More than half already use broadband for entertainment, namely downloading video and music, and watching TV, she said.
"It is clear that ensuring equal access across all four (British) nations will be important," she said.
Bradley will present the full report wto the Digital Britain team on 8 May.