Digital Britain – who picks up the tab?

Today Lord Carter will issue his full report on Digital Britain – the strategy for putting the UK on the digital map.The headline news from his interi

The headline news from his interim report in January is that he's recommending "broadband for all" – access to 2mbps download speeds to the entire UK – enough to watch live streamed TV.

This is hoped to be achieved by BT making fixed copper line improvements and mobile broadband companies filling the gap in between, using the "digital dividend" left over from the analogue TV switch.

But there are currently 4million households without broadband – and this implementation will likely cost billions.

BT wants to use surplus licence fee money from the digital switchover campaign, while mobile broadband providers want the government to underwrite the cost of implementing new satellites and technology, a probable £500m to launch a new satellite.

At the moment it's like the end of an enjoyable meal where the bill remains ignored in the centre of the table, eyes averted and embarrassed coughs all round.

I think that Digital Britain will point us in the right direction and hopefully aid the UK's economic recovery, but until the industry and the current government reach a consensus on who picks up the tab, and who will get which portions of the airwaves we're headed for stalemate.

And what about next-gen broadband? Shouldn't we need to be looking towards a super-fast broadband structure, either from fibre-optic or WiMax so that we can perform even more tasks online, such as cloud computing and video upload.

What do you think? Let us know below...