DIGITAL BRITAIN: Final report announced by culture secretary Ben Bradshaw
UPDATE: Scroll down to the bottom of the page see our summary of the report's plans for Broadband, Mobile and Copyright, and look out for an imminent news story on the future of Radio on whathifi.com.
Future plans for the Internet, radio, television, local media and broadband should be outlined this afternoon by new culture secretary Ben Bradshaw.
Lord Carter's report will tackle issues across the digital spectrum, from providing broadband for all to tackling online piracy, to solving Channel 4's funding problems and the crisis in regional news.
The culture secretary's announcement is expected to begin at 3.30pm this afternoon and we'll be bringing you the news here as it happens.
- To ensure all can access and benefit from the network of today, we confirm our intention to deliver the Universal Service Broadband Commitment at 2Mbps by 2012.
- This can be delivered through upgrades to the existing copper and wireless networks.
- We also propose public support for the network of tomorrow so that consumers in the Final Third who will not be reached by the market can enjoy next generation broadband.
- The Universal Service Commitment will be delivered by a mix of technologies:
DSL, fibre to the street cabinet, wireless and possibly satellite infill.
- The Next Generation Final Third project. Next generation broadband networks
- The Government believes the fairest and most efficient means of ensuring that the overwhelming majority of the country has access to next generation broadband is to create an independent Next Generation Fund, based on a supplement of 50 pence per month on all fixed copper lines
So that's broadband for all at a minimum of 2Mbps by 2012. And a 50p tax on existing lines to provide for the next generation broadband network.
- A rapid transition to next generation high-speed mobile broadband
- Progress towards universal coverage in 3G and Next Generation Mobile, reliable coverage throughout the rail network and mobile coverage on the London Underground
- Maintaining a highly competitive mobile market.
- Ensure that each of the five existing operators and potential new entrants can bid for sufficient spectrum to build out a next generation mobile network capable of broadband speeds of 50Mbps in the main urban and suburban markets going, down to perhaps 4-5Mbps in the more rural areas.
- The Government proposes to make the existing operators' 3G licences indefinite rather than term licences in order to provide certainty for investment and an incentive towards greater roll-out towards universality.
So improved coverage and speeds are top of the list, while mobile providers must be rubbing their hands together after having their 3G licenses extended indefinitely.
- Government enforces its belief that piracy of intellectual property for profit is theft and will be pursued as such through the criminal law.
- The Government believes that most people, given a reasonable choice would much prefer not o do wrong or break the law.
- Aim to provide a framework that encourages the growth of legal markets for downloading that are inexpensive, convenient and easily accessible for consumers.
- Aim to provide for a graduated response by rights-holders and ISPs so that they can use the civil law to the full to deter the hard core of users who wilfully continue unlawful activity
- The Government intends to provide initially for Ofcom to have a duty to secure a significant reduction in unlawful file sharing by imposing two specific obligations: notification of unlawful activity and, for repeat-infringers, a court-based process of identity release and civil action.
- The Government is also providing for intermediate technical measures by ISPs, such as bandwidth reduction or protocol blocking, if the two main obligations have been reasonably tried but shown not to have worked within a reasonable but also reasonably brisk period.
- As part of the Government's desire to encourage inexpensive but legal consumer access to digital content, we will also make some changes to the legislative framework around copyright licensing, to tackle problems such as those surrounding the use of so-called orphan works and thus help digital markets in those works to develop.