Critics take aim at Digital Britain report

Critics have attacked the Government’s Digital Britain report as not going far enough, while also failing to put forward a plan for the proposed tie-up between Channel 4 and BBC Worldwide.

One key focus of the report has been on providing universal broadband access with a 2Mb connection speed by 2012.

But this has been labelled as a short-term solution. iLevel co-founder Andrew Walmsley says the 2Mb speed is already “behind the curve” when considering that there are currently connections of up to 100Mb in Japan.

After announcing the details of the report on Tuesday (16 June), Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw revealed that part of the BBC licence fee and a 50p a month levy placed on fixed phone lines would fund its universal broadband plans.

But Shadow Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt argues that “slapping” on an extra tax is an “old economy solution to a new economy problem”.

The report – written by the outgoing Minster for Communications Lord Carter (pictured) – is expected to have little impact on the marketing services sector, though Sacha Deshmukh, head of corporate communications at agency holding company Engine, says it reflects how far behind the Government has fallen in keeping pace with the transforming media environment.

“Carefully managed consolidation of media channels, increased broadband access and better protection of online content are, of course, all laudable ambitions, but we’ve heard it all before and we needed it yesterday,” Deshmukh says.

The report has also failed to make major headway on the proposed tie-up between Channel 4 and BBC Worldwide. Instead, it states there is “further work needed to be done by both the BBC and BBC Worldwide on the practical and strategic implications of further structural separation”.

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