Competition and consumer focus are key wishes for Digital Britain

What industry commentators would like to see in the Digital Britain report.

What industry commentators would like to see in the Digital Britain report.

Axel Pawlik, managing director, RIPE NCC, the European internet address registrar:

"The more widespread the internet becomes, the more computers will be connected to the UK-wide network. For the 'broadband for all by 2012' vision of the UK government to become a reality, we need a dramatic increase in the number of IP addresses, the numeric IDs assigned to all devices connected to the internet.

"The IP addresses currently most widely in use, IP version 4, are set to run out by 2011. So, to connect all computers to high-speed internet, the new generation of IP addresses, known as IPv6 must be rolled out.

"The RIPE NCC urges the UK government to take an active approach to driving adoption of IPv6 among telcos, ISPs and businesses of all sizes. It can lead by making its own services available over IPv6, and using the power its wields as a procurer of technology to encourage UK-wide deployment."

Professor Martin Cave OBE, Warwick Business School, an academic:

"Few investments offer greater economic potential than expanding broadband access. Securing investment in high-capacity networks relies on a policy framework that supports investment. Those investing in new lines must be able to guarantee the efficient flow of traffic over the internet and charge appropriately for their services.

"Large-scale fibre optic investment is essential and government policy makers must resist introducing any sort of regulation that deters private companies from spending the money needed to upgrade the internet infrastructure."

Paul Gainham, Juniper Networks, a network equipment supplier:

"The goals of Digital Britain are admirable and should bring major benefits to UK plc in terms of its competitive edge on the global stage.

"Those goals will be achieved only if the fundamentals of today's internet business model are transformed. Simply cutting and pasting today's model and throwing additional bandwidth into the mix will not create a sustainable platform for long-term growth.

"The internet is not a humanitarian project, and all the players in the delivery chain need to demonstrate their value and to make a respectable return from their investments.

"There is a common misconception that "problems" with service levels on the internet relate to the access bandwidth provided into the home. It is not all about bandwidth; it is the way content and applications are created, managed and delivered which is critical. The supply chain behind the broadband access network, all the way back to the content source, is involved, and this is the crux that needs to be addressed."

Chris Williams, media partner, Deloitte, a management consultancy:

"Stimulating investment in a next-generation broadband infrastructure for Britain has been at the heart of the Digital Britain debate. Deloitte believes the customer has to be at the centre of the debate.

"Making high-speed broadband access universally available is no guarantee that all consumers will take it up. Demand and willingness to pay for services varies significantly. Some people view broadband as an essential utility, others would opt out even if services were free.

"Deloitte believes if high-speed broadband is to succeed, three principles need to be adopted:

  • Online services need to offer something new that the customer will value significantly above today's alternatives to drive a desire for increased bandwidth;
  • The customer business model needs to be viable and sustainable for all parties in the value chain;
  • New ways must be found to target segments of the population that do not currently use any broadband services.

"By putting the customer back at the centre of the debate, the industry can avoid the 'build-it and they will come' mentality, and will create a competitive environment that puts Britain in the foreground of the digital landscape."

Dominic Monkhouse, managing director, PEER 1, a website hosting company:

"I expect the Digital Britain report to contain recommendations on: illegal file-sharing and digital rights management; broadband proliferation and speeds; data storage and security; and the investment required in infrastructure.

"As such, the report has far-reaching implications on businesses because it creates opportunity, seeks to protect interests, as well as restrict and regulate other practices."

Lee Myall, Interoute, a communications services provider:

"It seems a lot to ask internet service providers (ISPs) to provide personal customer data to rights holders, or any other industry, if that could lead to court action. It could be seen as a breach of privacy and could damage customer relationships. It also means a huge extra administrative burden for ISPs on behalf of the content industry.

"We need to look to the industries that are immediately impacted by piracy and file-sharing for a solution. The emerging answer appears to combine availability, exploitability and ease of purchase of content. For example, Spotify is an online catalogue, easy to access and exploit positively. However, it does not allow users to download the file.

"To sell these files via download, distributors could embed unique identifiers in the files. These will allow them to manage online distribution without compromising quality or quantity."

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