Digital Britain -- first thoughts

Congratulations to, which was first to get something accessible on to the internet concerning today's launch of the UK government's Digital Britain manifesto. According to's Tom Espiner, who heard it from David Meyer,
"The report does indeed recommend that all users have access to broadband up to 2Mbps [That's a lot slower than broadband suppliers advertise, but faster than many seem to deliver ...].

In terms of how this can be achieved, the government said that the market already covers two-thirds of next-generation broadband needs, but that there will be a 50p monthly levy on each copper line to fund next-gen broadband, to cover the remaining third of needs [so you can get rid of your copper line now, go wireless, and save £6 a year, or nearly US$ 10 at today's exchange rate].

Unlicensed filesharers are to have their bandwidth reduced, plus be subject to protocol blocking. Their IDs may also be released for civil actions [there is doubt as to whether either of these steps will deter or even inconvenience the mobile, technologically savvy youngsters who comprise the core of unauthorised file-sharers today, though].

There will be a major telecoms resiliency test-exercise this year [sounds sensible].

There will also be an internet crime and security initiative, combining parliament, government, and business [The IPKat can understand why parliament and the government have been included, but what is business supposed to have done wrong?].

There will be a consultation on Ofcom penalties for Communications Act 2003 contraveners [seems prudent: ].

The government is to provide a £23m fund for basic SME IT support [A curiously un-round sum. why 23?].

There will also be more IT training for citizens [You've heard of Bootcamps. Well, these will be Reboot Camps. but will there be special training in anger management and router rage?] ".
... but now you can read it for yourselves!

Digital Britain Interim Report here
Digital Britain Forum here
"Digital Britain: a Beginner's Guide" here
Earlier IPKat posts here, here, here and here
Comments from The 1709 Blog here and here
IPKat team member Jeremy's comment on ZDNet here
Digital Britain -- first thoughts Digital Britain -- first thoughts Reviewed by Jeremy on Tuesday, June 16, 2009 Rating: 5


  1. [there is doubt as to whether either of these steps will deter or even inconvenience the mobile, technologically savvy youngsters who comprise the core of unauthorised file-sharers today, though].

    Exactly. Mum and dad find they can't work from home because their internet's been cut off, while little Johnny hacks next door's wifi connection to continue his file-sharing unhindered.

    The content industry needs to be careful what it wishes for. If it actually gets the "technological measures" it thinks it wants, the likely result is a backlash against copyright owners from the general public, who now increasingly see broadband as an essential utility, not an optional consumer product.

  2. Quite. Copyright is not a political issue amongst the wider public. Cutting off people's broadband (or even choking it so it is not usable) may achieve just that. I'm not sure that's what the content industry really wants.

    Such measures are likely to stimulate the development of much harder to trace P2P than is currently popular. None of the major P2P systems make serious use of steganography, but if they have to they will.

    Having swallowed a spider to catch the fly, the government may find that it wriggles and tickles inside. Let us hope that no larger metazoans are used.

  3. We must fight the proposals to attack file-sharing. They will not differentiate between legal & illegal sharing. Plus they are not allowing those accused the due process of a court of law. They are forcing ISPs to do their dirty work for them. If you think it's such a massive issue, make it a criminal offence. I can't imagine why they don't want to do that... (7 million UK file sharers, it was claimed recently)


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