Lukewarm response to Digital Britain report

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Lukewarm response to Digital Britain report

The UK government's much-anticipated Digital Britain report has received a lukewarm response, with critics saying it promises much but delivers little.

The draft document, unveiled yesterday, presents a 22-point action plan outlining the government's plans for the UK's digital transformation, which will include the upgrading and modernising of all wired, wireless and broadband infrastructure and making broadband available to every house in Britain by 2012.

But Tory shadow culture secretary Jeremy Hunt said that most people will be disappointed with the report.

"The digital economy is vital for Britain because of our natural strengths in creating digital content. But when it comes to delivery of that content we are lagging badly. This was the chance to put things right," he said.

"This government, which has been the best customer for the management consultancy industry in the history of Britain, has promised us no new action, but a total of eight new reports.

"The most critical question of all is how to stimulate investment in a next-generation broadband network. This is dealt with under Action 1. What is Action 1? 'To establish a government-led strategy group.' There are no concrete pledges, only eight new reviews."

Liberal Democrat spokesman Don Foster also said that the report made "very disappointing reading".

"Why have we got such low ambitions, such a low target?" he asked, adding that investing in high-speed broadband could create 600,000 new jobs in the UK but that the government had only made a "vague commitment" on the issue.

Business leaders at the CBI welcomed the report, but were less than enthusiastic. "Business wants to see a clear vision of how to move to a fully functioning knowledge economy," said CBI deputy director-general John Cridland.

"Extended access to broadband for businesses and households has to be the right way forward, but there must be a dialogue between business and government about how this can be funded.

"The government must also put in place the right conditions for essential investment in next-generation broadband."
Copyright © 2010 Computing

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