Britain seeks to become world's 'digital capital'

Jun 16, 2009

Britain on Tuesday declared a goal to become the world's "digital capital" by building cutting-edge broadband, telecoms and media infrastructure to cement its role as a "global economic powerhouse".

Prime Minister Gordon Brown compared the digital revolution to the 19th century construction of roads and railways which laid the foundations for the Industrial Revolution in Britain.

Although it currently trails many countries in criteria such as broadband penetration and mobile phone usage, Brown said Britain could leapfrog into the global lead.

"Britain is going to lead the world. This is us taking the next step into the future, being the digital capital of the world," he said before the publication of the long-awaited "Digital Britain" report later Tuesday.

The report will set out wide-ranging aims for Britain's media and communications industries, tackling issues including illegal downloading and helping broadcasters and newspapers respond to the ongoing digital revolution.

One long-contentious issue is the BBC, which critics say unfairly benefits from public funding. Reports at the weekend suggested there could be a shake-up of the licence fee, the levy which everyone has to pay to fund the broadcaster.

Brown, who visited a media firm in southeast London ahead of the launch, said high-speed broadband access would be as essential in the future as gas, electricity or water are now.

Writing in the Times newspaper, Brown added that can help Britain emerge stronger from the current global downturn, which has hit London harder than some cities due to its dependence on banking and financial services.

"Just as the bridges, roads and railways built in the 19th century were the foundations of the Industrial Revolution... so investment now in the information and communications industries can underpin our emergence from recession... and cement the UK's position as a global economic powerhouse," he said.

"Modernisation of our communications infrastructure is vital to take advantage of important shifts in technology," Brown added.

" is at a tipping point. High-speed Internet access will soon be essential for everyone. Only a digital Britain can unlock the imagination and creativity that will secure for us and our children the high-skilled jobs of the future in a global economy."

(c) 2009 AFP

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User comments : 5

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5 / 5 (1) Jun 16, 2009
I can help them with this. 1Gbps or 10Gbps to home will allow lots of HD content to be delivered to every home in Britain. And it does not even cost that much.
5 / 5 (1) Jun 16, 2009
Good shit. I love the technology countries are embracing. Hate that America is ranked 8th in innovation >.>
4 / 5 (2) Jun 16, 2009
Britain should be a digital capital. They are already the surveillance society capital. Maybe this will balance out the big brother cancer which seems to have crept in there.

And yes, the U.S. is right behind and has only not surpassed them due to our size.
4 / 5 (1) Jun 17, 2009
It's excellent that it's getting the go ahead now, shame our gvmt takes 10years to implement anything tho. Our coverage atm is not far from crap...

I always thought they were developing better methods to police and restrict illegal activities b4 going ahead since the music/film industry will pay them greatly for doing so and the ISPs are having nothing to do with it.
2 / 5 (1) Jun 17, 2009
Good shit. I love the technology countries are embracing. Hate that America is ranked 8th in innovation >.>

Ranked by whom? LOL...I love these "rankings": for countries, for universities, for everything. Most of them should be taken with a grain of salt, because, invariably, the methodology tends to determine the ranking. One of my favorites is the US News and World Report ranking of American universities. The "objective" information is self-reported by the university. And the rest of the ranking is based off of the opinions of faculty. From where, you might ask? Well, from Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and the rest of the wannabe illuminati from the Ivy League. Now, I'll bet none of you can figure out which universities are ranked the highest? You guessed it! Harvard and Princeton and Yale... . Curiously, these rankings seem to ignore competitive research funding, which is the only truly objective measure of university status, that indicate places like UCLA, Johns Hopkins, Michigan-Ann Arbor, and the Univ. of Pittsburgh as the top research universities.

I put the same stock in "nation ranking" that I do in US News's university rankings. The choice of methodology is random, and no organization unbiased.