Communications Minister Lord Carter has released his long-awaited Digital Britain interim report, making key recommendations on file sharing, policing the internet and the future of Channel 4, as well as urging that broadband connections should be a right for all UK citizens.
Lord Carter's full report will not be published until June, but his interim report, which has been shown to senior media and telecommunications executives, is now available to the public. It lays out recommendations for key changes that will shape the future of Britain's digital industries.
In all there are 22 recommendations, which are broken down in detail in the report.
His key recommendations are:
Broadband for all: Lord Carter has announced that a Universal Service Commitment (USC) will be in effect by 2012.
Essentially, this means that everyone in the UK should have access to a broadband internet line, which will offer a minimum service speed of 2Mbps.
DAB radio to be a primary distribution network: the government is committed to offering digital radio, but will not start a digital migration until 50 per cent of radio listening is digitised.
Digital radio coverage will also be extended, with the BBC's help, to at least the level of FM analogue coverage.
Internet Rights Agency to be created: the creation of a Rights Agency has been suggested, which will provide incentives for legal use of copyright material on the internet and help prevent further infringement of copyright via the internet.
The Rights Agency will also be expected to find a middle ground that suits consumers and content makers.
ISPs to collect info on copyright offenders: ISPs are being asked once again to collate information on repeat copyright offenders, but in an anonymous way.
Repeat offenders should also be notified by ISPs that they are breaking the law.
Channel 4's broadcast role to be strengthened: Channel 4 is to be revitalised to help it compete in a multi-media, multi platform world. Five and ITV will focus on original content, and ITV will be particularly committed to regional news.
Affects every community in our country
Speaking about the interim report, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: "Today we have an interim report from Lord Carter setting out the scale of our ambition to compete in the digital economy and that's a market worth about £50 billion a year.
"It affects every community in our country who are looking for the best digital infrastructure, access to broadband, that we can offer them.
"We know that every aspect of our lives in local communities - every school, every hospital, every workplace and even every home - will be dependent on the services that the digital network provides."
The final report will be issued by Lord Carter in June.
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