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POLIS response to Lord Carter report on future of broadband

2nd February  2009

Digital Britain is off to a great start: Carter, the head of the government's 'Digital Britain' initiative, has publicly committed to resolve some of the most difficult issues in coms policy. But:

Public Service Content:

What happened to the vision of linking broadcasters with museums, galleries and universities to provide open-rights content on demand? The BBC, Ofcom and Channel Four developed the idea, but will the proposed Public Service Content Company share it? Government needs to give a strong lead to deliver such a vision, and not expect too much of Channel 4 or Worldwide.

Intellectual Property

ISPs will no longer be neutral conduits after new legislation, and they will be asked to release more data on our internet use. We can expect vigorous debate about user rights and privacy. Whilst something needs to be done to get past this impasse, it is essential that rights holders don't merely capture policy and trample free speech and privacy rights. Lets see if the new Rights Agency can be anything more than the military wing of the collecting societies.

Broadband

2 megs for all sounds great, but what does this mean in practice? Is the government going to subsidise access to internet enabled digiboxes at switchover? If ISPs can traffic shape, how do you ensure TV users can access public services and don't get cheapo, sub-standard ad-driven access? No funding for super fast broadband yet: but we already know that unemployed and isolated people- those who need access most – will not be served by the market for many years. Shouldn't government be coordinating the millions already being spend on local NGA and focusing it on them?

To read Dr Damian Tambini's response click here |

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