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 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.
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.