Government hypocrisy on digital inclusion

Oh, the irony! The UK Government wants us all to be online yet is pushing through legislation that will effectively close down wider use of the internet.

The Government has announced that a new body ‘Broadband Delivery UK’ is to be responsible for rolling-out next generation broadband across the UK. At the same time a major report forecasting the future reach of next generation broadband across the UK has been published by the Government.

Commenting on the report Sarah McAdam our Chief Executive said: “We welcome this important research, which sets out in a clear and straightforward way which communities may be at risk of not benefiting from next generation broadband. Our ‘Mind the Gap’ report identifies the importance of broadband to rural communities. Lack of broadband provision or poor speeds mean that many rural areas risk being left further behind as next generation broadband is introduced, but factors such as social deprivation, demographics and individuals’ reservations about using new technology may also have an influence.

“The research is the first to analyse these effects and their collective impact on digital inclusion. It highlights where attention is needed to ensure that parts of the country are not left behind in access to up-to-date fibre-based communications services. I also hope it will inspire industry and communities themselves to join Government to commit to bridging the access gap for rural areas. Working together can ensure that ‘Digital Britain’ does not become a ‘two-tier’ Britain.”

However, the Digital Economy Bill, currently passing through the House of Lords, means that open wifi – in places like pubs, libraries, schools, cafes and other public venues – will disappear thanks to well-resourced lobbying by the music and film industries who cite web piracy as a sufficient evil to make sure control over our surfing stifles any real economic and societal potential that free and open access delivers.

Find out more about the campaign against the evil Digital Economy Bill here.

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