Campaigning for better Connectivity and Universal Broadband Access!

A UK 'bit' commons.

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Big Picture - towards a bit commons'.
The final Digital Britain Report (June 09) and action plan for Digital Inclusion stated the importance of all citizens being able to access the services on the world wide web.  The Digital Britain report makes the case for a Universal Service commitment and outlined a new levy to help with a upgarde of rural services.  These forensic steps are part measures towards a UK bit commons and need to welcomed and encouraged. Getting everybody in the UK connected to the world wide web in one shape or form is a great mission. 
But the consequences of this have not been discussed.  Some of the implications are as follows.  
  • It  implies that the online user experience will need to be predictable for key services.  This demands that our connectivity works in a particular way and any limits are understood. This is particularly so during busy periods.


  • It suggest that key services work consistently across fixed and mobile connectivity, and that connectivity is managed as a single resource.  The term digital commons has been used,  but the term 'bit' commons reflects the simplicity of how people use the web.


  • The realisation of this goal demands we manage  the data transport infrastructure as a critical asset so citizens can gain access to the public platform that is the web.  This demands the underying data transport is managed independent of the services supported on the network.  It is implies the user is aware of the available resources so any contention for resource between applications can be managed.


  • It suggests that the data transport can be used for all services,  including legacy voice services, fixed and mobile.


  • It suggests a fundamental re-think and re-definition of how our communication and information is offered and sold,  how they are priced and and how they are regulated.


  • It precludes the sale of radio spectrum to the highest bidder,  and demands that a nations data transport infrastructure fixed and mobile is planned and used as a single data transport infrastructure at least at a logical level,  which possibly no more than two shared physical infrastructures. (Please see the submission to BIS requesting spectrum is set aside for home cells as part of the Digital Dividend.)


For the average person accessing the world wide web there is no new insight here.  It just begins to describe what we are already doing.  Where there is access we use it;  at home, in our neighbours, at work, on the move and in an increasing number of public spaces.  Most of the barriers and the alleged scarity are of a historic origin arising from policy decisions made in the past.  All can and need to be challenged.