How Everyone in Britain Can Share in the Benefits of the Digital Age

Article excerpt

Byline: >Matt Johnson

IN THE week that Lord Carter published his Digital Britain report, we've seen the widespread and diverse use of digital communications technology, from rallying political opposition in Iran to helping police trace missing persons in the UK.

The same digital technology that provides tennis fanatics with real-time updates from Wimbledon to their mobile phones also allows Jenson Button's pit crew to calculate that he had no chance of victory in Sunday's British Grand Prix within seconds of the field completing its first lap at Silverstone. Clearly, for some people, the Digital Age is already in full swing. Lord Carter's report draws attention to some pretty startling digital facts.

For example, three-quarters of British households will be online by the end of the year, according to research from the regulator Ofcom. The UK sits in 11th place in the global broadband league, with 28.5 broadband subscribers per 100 inhabitants, according to statistics from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The OECD's list was topped by Denmark at 37.2 subscribers per 100 inhabitants, with the Netherlands at 35.8 and Norway at 34.5.

That's fair enough.

Less satisfactory for a country facing a pounds 6 "broadband tax" is the fact that massive disparities in internet usage between the different age groups exist in the UK. …