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Government details how Digital Britain Report will become reality

Out-Law News | 18 Aug 2009 | 2:08 pm | 1 min. read

The Government has announced the details of how it will implement the recommendations of the Digital Britain report. It said that though preparatory work on the recommendations will be complete by autumn, some work will not be finished until 2012.

The Digital Britain Report was a Government-commissioned study that made recommendations for how Government could deal with online piracy, extend broadband internet access and better regulate digital broadcasting.

The Government has now published a detailed plan outlining how it will actually achieve the objectives of June's Report.

"[The implementation plan] does not set out timing around every item of the programme," it said. "Each workstream may proceed at a slightly different pace depending on the nature of the work, the need for consultation or legislation and the links to other workstreams."

"Immediate or preparatory actions will be completed in the Summer or Autumn, with longer term projects stretching to 2012 or beyond," it said.

The implementation plan confirms that Government will pursue many of the Report's aims through a Digital Economy Bill, which will be published in autumn.

Amongst other things this will give media and telecoms regulator Ofcom two new duties. The Report said that Ofcom was too focused on short term telecoms cost reductions and not enough on infrastructure and long term investment.

The Government, then, will legislate to give Ofcom two new duties. These are to promote investment in infrastructure and content and to make a full, two-yearly assessment of the UK's communications infrastructure. It will also have to report to Government on any major concerns it has at any time about the country's communications infrastructure.

The Government's implementation plan said that responsibility for putting the Digital Britain Report into action will be shared by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). The Government's new Champion for Digital Inclusion, Lastminute.com founder Martha Lane Fox, will also contribute to the implementation, the Government said.

The implementation will also involve the creation of a formal group to keep the process in touch with outside bodies which have a major stake in it.

"To ensure that partners outside the immediate two departments (such as Ofcom and the BBC) help us deliver the actions in the Digital Britain Final Report a Digital Partner Contact Group will bring meet regularly and report to the Programme Board," said the implementation plan. "This Group will exist to maintain relationships between different delivery partners and track progress where delivery is outside the immediate control of BIS and DCMS."

The Digital Britain Programme Board will guide all the activity and will meet every two months. A "small team" will work permanently on the project to support the Board's decision.

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