Digital Britain report "sets the bar low"

I've been particularly enjoying the coverage on Lord Carter's Digital Britain interim report.

Emily Bell at the The Guardian has labelled it "a rope bridge to the future".

Bell argues that the media landscape is changing, and technology is dynamic. Carter's report is full of reassurances, but lacks specifics, she argues.

We know that everything about our media landscape is changing more rapidly than at any time in the past, we know that the economies and financial models that feed us our daily intake of information, education and entertainment are broken, and we know that there are new businesses, activities and devices we can all use and enjoy, but we are not exactly sure where they will lead us. Given the current pulsating madness of the media world, with its structural collapse, its almost daily dilemmas and scandals played out in public, Stephen Carter has produced a report which does just enough to reassure us that the direction of travel is correct but stops short of detailed planning and analysis.

Her colleague, Charles Arthur has come down harder, and described it as a "a mish-mash of quangos, incomplete thinking, and bars set so low you can walk over them".

Arthur takes Carter to task for his take on the funding of 'net neutrality'. Carter's reports stated: "The Government has yet to see a case for legislation in favour of net neutrality. In consequence, unless Ofcom find network operators or ISPs to have Significant Market Power and justify intervention on competition grounds, traffic management will not be prevented."

Arthur asks:

Who's left to pay for the high-speed links, then? Businesses that want high-speed videoconferencing? I can't see a business case for widespread installation of fibre to the office out of some companies. That's really, really unlikely to happen.


Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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