Government delays 'Digital Britain' report findings

The government has delayed publishing the interim findings of its Digital Britain report.


The government has delayed publishing the interim findings of its Digital Britain report.

The findings of the report by Communications Minister Lord Carter, which looks at a number of area of digital entertainment including the future of broadband, public service broadcasting and digital radio, will now be made available "before the end of the month" said the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. The findings were originally expected to be released last week.

Lord Carter's interim report is expected to announce plans to introduce a universal broadband service by 2012, offering everyone broadband at speeds of at least 2Mb per second.

Currently ISPs are required to offer an internet connection with minimum speeds of 28.8Kbps. but Lord Carter's report could mandate industry to provide a connection to anyone in the UK who wants one.

But BT's dire profit warning last week could hamper Carter's plans. BT warned that it had over-estimated the potential profits it could make from a handful of large contracts. BT has come under pressure from shareholders to conserve cash by pulling plans to spend £1.5bn on a next-generation, fibre-optic broadband network that would connect 40% of UK homes.

Earlier this month Carter dropped hints that the report will contain details of planned investment by the government in a new fibre-network to provide the UK with next-gen broadband.

The cost of transferring the UK's existing copper network to a new high-speed fibre system that's capable of offering homes in Britain 100Mbps broadband has been estimated at between £15bn and £24.5bn.

Telecommunications companies, such as BT, have baulked at the idea of footing the bill. Substantial investment from the government could help quell these fears.

The full report is expected to be made available in late spring 2009.

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