Digital Britain - The future of communications
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Released 17 Oct 2008
JOINT DCMS/BERR PRESS RELEASE
An action plan to secure the UK's place at the forefront of innovation,
investment and quality in the digital and communications industries will be
developed by Stephen Carter, the first Minister for Communications, Technology
Already a major force in the economy, worth over £52 billion a year, the
digital and communication sectors are growing in significance as the country
faces up to current financial and market challenges. Vital to underpinning
global economic activity, they are critical to every business in our economy,
acting both as a catalyst for creativity and allowing efficiency gains. And they
have a major impact on our culture and quality of life.
Drawing on expertise from across Government, regulators and industry, Lord
Carter's report will be a comprehensive analysis of our digital economy. Titled
'Digital Britain', the work has at its core an ambition to accelerate the rate
of growth, and cement the UK's position as a world leader in the knowledge and
learning economy. To achieve this Stephen Carter will bring forward proposals
for both Government and industry, to support the development of these critical
Stephen Carter said:
"Communications have been revolutionised in the last 20 years, with consumers
and businesses alike embracing the opportunities and taking advantage of the
reality of the new technologies."
He added: "Digital Britain is about capturing the opportunities on offer for
UK PLC and the public, and advancing our standing as a world leader in these
"Our ambition is to see Digital Britain as the leading major economy for
innovation, investment and quality in the digital and communications industries.
We will seek to bring forward a unified framework to help maximise the UK's
competitive advantage and the benefits to society."
Stephen Carter's report will take forward and build on the wide-ranging work
from Government, regulators and industry that already addresses issues around
communications and convergence. It will bring together extensive expert analysis
to develop a strategy for a fully digital Britain.
Culture Secretary Andy Burnham said:
"We need to move quickly if we are to maximise the benefits of convergence.
Over the last year we've worked with experts to get a clear understanding of the
issues to address and obstacles to overcome if our businesses and citizens are
to take full advantage of technology. Now is the time to move from the think
tank phase to the delivery phase and focus on the actions needed to bring
benefits for both the economy and an enriched society. This is a change of gear
by the Government, and the Digital Britain Report, led by Stephen, will be a key
contribution to the digital future."
Secretary of State for Business Peter Mandelson said: "The Government is
determined that the UK will strengthen its place as a word leader in the
communications and digital technology sectors. For the present financial and
banking crisis, Britain must get through the worst and prepare for the upturn.
The digital economy will be central to this. The digital Britain report will
lead the way"
To ensure the UK maximises the benefits of convergence right across the
economy and society, a strategy will be developed to secure four key conditions:
open markets; empowered and informed consumers and citizens; universal access to
public service content; and a responsive regulatory framework. Priorities in
each of these areas will be:
Open markets providing investment, innovation and choice, at all levels of
the value chain including infrastructure, service provision and creation of
- Broadband Development: examining options for maximising participation and
levels of service across the UK.
- Digital Radio: identifying barriers to wider investment and development of
digital radio platforms, and drawing lessons from the current digital
switchover television programme.
- Investment in Content: exploring business models for content development
in a digital age, and the impact of new media on the content market.
- Spectrum: identifying the barriers to the release of spectrum and a fully
functioning market in the trading and use of spectrum.
Empowered and informed consumers and citizens fully equipped to take
advantage of the opportunities convergence brings.
- Internet: looking at a range of issues affecting internet users, such as
user security and safety and a workable approach to promoting content
- Media Literacy and IT skills: identifying inhibitors to IT take-up and
barriers to maximising the economic and social effects of digital technologies
including empowering consumers.
Universal access to high quality, public service content through appropriate
mechanisms for a converged digital age.
- Public Service Broadcasting/Content: evaluating the impact of
digitalisation and the new technologies on public service broadcasting assets
and public service licences, in the UK as a whole and in the nations and
- Independent Production: examining how to ensure the health of a vibrant
independent production sector, including examining the impact of the current
A responsive regulatory framework that maximises investment and innovation by
providing certainty and equipping regulators with the right tools to achieve
- Intellectual property: the DIUS study of copyright will be important to the
Digital Britain report.
The extensive research already carried out by Government and industry
regulator Ofcom will underpin this work. The Digital Britain report will draw on
all the available evidence to develop a comprehensive action plan. It is clear
that for many people convergence is already a reality and content is
increasingly being accessed through different technologies.
The Digital Britain report will consider what future legislative and
non-legislative measures are required to support the development of these
critical sectors and will be published in spring 2009.
1. The information and communications technologies and broadcasting together
account for 5.9% of GDP, with a turnover of over £52 billion a year. 500,000
people are employed in these sectors in the UK.
2. Convergence can be defined as the merging of the individual communications
industries (IT, broadcasting, telecommunications etc) into a single converged
market. The breaking down of the traditional barriers between technologies has
the potential to alter dramatically the landscape of the relevant sectors and
those who interrelate with them. In practice convergence covers a wide range of
issues, as well as most of the regulatory and legislative regimes that are
currently in place.
3. The Government has already undertaken much important work in this area,
- The recently published Caio review on next generation broadband access;
- The Digital Radio Working Group currently scheduled to deliver a report in
- The recent memorandum of understanding to address file sharing between
Internet Service Providers and rights holders;
- The Byron Review on children and new technology leading to the UK Council
for Child Internet Safety;
- The work of the Convergence Think Tank; and
- The Digital Inclusion Action Plan.
4. The new position of Minister for Communications, Technology and
Broadcasting was created by the Prime Minister in recognition of the important
role these sectors play in our economy and our society. There is no change to
the respective responsibilities of BERR and DCMS in this area. The Minister for
Communications, Technology and Broadcasting is a joint appointment to both BERR
and DCMS and will report to both Secretaries of State.
Public enquiries 020 7211 6200
2-4 Cockspur Street
London SW1Y 5DH
About the Author
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2008-10-20 09:19:44 in Computer Articles