Digital Britain Report

This week saw the publishing of the final Digital Britain government report which makes for a very interesting (and time consuming) read. We have picked out some of the key findings, facts and figures for your convenience. Working within in the Digital environment it is important for us to understand the internet culture in our marketplace and to be aware of where it may be heading in the coming years.

Two Meg Broadband For All by 2012

“It had been announced that the Government would pursue a Universal Broadband Service, at a speed of 2 Megabits per second, by no later than 2012″ Good on them but when the average speed in South Korea 45mb, maybe we should be aiming a little higher? The UK is currently behind the likes of Luxembourg (see chart below)


The People Want It

“More than 80% agreed (46% strongly) that it should be possible to have broadband at home, regardless of where people live. Among respondents, 81% agreed (42% strongly) that it is everyone’s right to be able to have broadband at home”

But Not Everybody Knows What It Is!?!

“Awareness of the Internet was widespread with only 3% of respondents saying
they had never heard of it*. Use outside the home also varied widely: 32% of
respondents used the Internet outside of the home; 24% were non-users with
indirect access via family or friends carrying out tasks on the Internet on their
behalf; and 43% were non-users without access either directly or indirectly”

*That does surprise me!

‘Digital Self – Exclusion’

“Among non Internet using groups a common response to ‘digital self-exclusion’
is that they say they are living contentedly offline and see no real need or
benefit to going online. Despite the advantages of digital participation, as
outlined in this document, 43% of those asked in a recent Ofcom study said
that even if offered a ‘free computer and broadband subscription’, they still
would not choose to be online”

I bet they would! Seriously though it shows that there is still a large untapped potential audience for digital marketing and one that surely we will see becoming open to promotion over the coming years.

We’ve Come a Long Way Baby

It would appear that the Government are pretty chuffed at the UK internet history…

“The UK can overall reasonably claim to have a satisfactory broadband
infrastructure and market structure. It has been quite a journey. When the
Internet started it was largely running on telephone modems delivering data at
14.4 Kbps. The bandwidth went up in jumps until, at 56/64 Kbps, the telephone
modem had to give way to the broadband Internet (DSL over copper wires or
Cable Modems over broadband cable networks). This allowed bandwidth to leap
to an average of 512 Kbps by 2005 and have risen steadily to an average of
3.3Mbps today. It has taken us 20 years to get to this average bandwidth.
However, challenges remain. There are three major issues for today: reliability
of the middle mile, access to services, and universal availability”

We Pay Low Rates

“UK consumers today enjoy some of the lowest communications bills of any in the European Market. Companies such as BSkyB, Carphone Warehouse, Virgin Media, BT and many others offer a huge range of individual products and bundled packages at very competitive prices. The intensively competitive nature of the UK Communications Market means that UK consumers will continue to be well served in terms of the prices they pay for communications products”

Mobile Broadband Will Be Pushed Out Further

As a marketing medium, mobile broadband has not yet realised its full potential and it would appear that the UK government will be making efforts to increase it’s accessibility as a platform:

“Finally, the exponential growth in mobile broadband services in the UK in the
last 12-18 months has led to the possibility of Internet connection over
relatively inexpensive devices such as pre-pay mobile. The Government’s
commitment to the earliest release of radio spectrum to support next
generation wireless technology will further build the capability of this option
for many people”

The Gov Realise the Importance of the Creative Industries

“In addition to being a financial services capital of the world, we should aim to
be a global centre for the creative industries. In addition to comprehensive
participation and comprehensive infrastructure as described in the preceding
Chapters, we also need a digital framework for the creative industries and a
commitment to the creative industries grounded in the belief that they can be
scaled and industrialised in the same way as other successful high-technology,
knowledge industries such as bio-sciences have been”

We may all be made in to industrialised and monetised machines before we know, but at least the kudos is forthcoming!

Charles Leadbitter sums up well here:

“Twenty years ago the industries that provided most of our information and
entertainment, resembled a few very large boulders strewn over a largely empty

These boulders were the big media companies that came into being because
media had high fixed costs – print plants for newspapers and studios for television.

They were closely regulated and resources, like broadcast spectrum, were scarce.
All that created high barriers to entry. These boulders made their money mainly
from advertising and by charging consumers for access to their products, which
required controlled access and often physical distribution and storage.

Anyone trying to set up a significant new media business could be seen coming
from a long way off. Rolling a new boulder onto the beach took lots of people,
money and heavy machinery. In the mid-1980s an entrepreneur called Eddie Shah
tried to roll a boulder onto the British beach by setting up a national newspaper
based in northern England. That provoked a protracted national strike. Rupert
Murdoch caused controversy by moving his boulder – production of his News
Corporation newspapers – from one part of London to another. That caused
another lengthy dispute. Channel 4 caused a stir by becoming a new boulder on
the beach, one which eventually spawned several other mini-boulders in the form
of independent production companies. The big advertising agencies – WPP and
TBWA – are boulders that service other boulders. The ITV companies have all
merged to create an even bigger, arguably even more unsuccessful, boulder. Until
recently boulders were the only business in town.

Now imagine the scene on this beach in five years time. A few very big boulders
will be still showing. But many have been drowned by a rising tide of pebbles.

Every minute millions of people come to drop a pebble on the beach: a blog post,
a YouTube video, a picture on Flickr, an update on Twitter. A bewildering array of
pebbles in different sizes, shapes and colours are being laid down the whole time,
in no particular order, as people feel like it.”

This report has its uses, of that there is no doubt. It has to be said that a huge amount of the information does tend to state the obvious. Large scale surveys, focus groups and interviews have their place, however in such a fast placed industry using rapidly changing technologies, their relevance and use should be taken in to account.

At Perfect Storm, we use the latest technologies to ensure your digital marketing strategy is reaching your target market in an efficient and measurable way. We pride ourselves on our knowledge of the latest trends and tools and tailoring a strategy to your business needs, whether you require a short term revenue driving solution or a far reaching digital strategy.

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    • Brie
    • June 22nd, 2009

    I think you will find it is Mr Leadbeater – He is very cool, I have met him and we talked about trolls.

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