Thursday, 25 June 2009

Digital Britain

The final Digital Britain report was published last week with many interesting discussion points. The report was commissioned to ensure that the whole of the UK, from businesses to consumers could maximise the benefits that the internet and emerging technologies surrounding it can provide. Key points that were highlighted were the development of broadband across the country, especialy rural areas, so that the entire population can have access to higher download speeds; ensuring the public have sufficient IT and media literacy skills to take advantage of new technologies; creating a digital copyright framework to protect intellectual property rights to support and promote creativity along with investment opportunities and job creation in sectors important to the UK and to combat internet piracy to ensure the future of on-line music and film downloads.

One of the surprises that came out of the Digital Britain report was that all wired internet users will now have to pay a 'broadband tax' of 50p per month to help pay towards the expansion of fast internet across the country. There has been doubt expressed already that the government is just trying to look as if they are doing something to alleviate the problem, and that the big cabling providers do not require a "meaningless sweetener", and that it is just another stealth tax. When it comes to piracy, the government will only intervene as a last resort. This means that abusers will not be disconnected if they flout the law, which does not seem much of a deterrent. Whether this will work remains to be seen, but if after a year there are not significant improvements, Internet Service Providers will be asked to slow the abuser's connection speeds and as a last resort block their IP addresses. Removing the internet from the illegal downloader's appears to be one of the few viable ways of stopping piracy.

Data centres were touched on very briefly, maybe to explain to those not in the know what data centre is! All the report revealed is that the need for data centre and co-location space is increasing - which is stating the obvious! There does not appear to be a plan in place to help provide power for these 'in-need' data centres which is the biggest limiting factor at present. This means that power will remain very expensive as it becomes a bidding war for provision and it will become increasingly harder to obtain. As a result the public will end up picking up the cost.
So with all these 'revelations', internet use will increase while the ability to host the vital equipment needed to run the internet will remain limited!

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