E’ un quadro su cui riflettere. Nel 2015 la Gran Bretagna potrebbe ritrovarsi con ampie aree del paese prive di fibra ottica, con una radio analogica FM spenta a favore di una tecnologia di radio digitale vetusta già nel 2009 e troppo stretta per dare spazio a tutti gli attuali broadcaster pubblici e privati e con infrastrutture mobili 3G/LTE care e piene di manchevolezze. La decisione sul DAB riguarda le infrastrutture di una nazione, conclude Schofield, il rapporto di Lord Carter fa un pessimo lavoro nel rappresentarne le istanze.
Digital Britain? We haven’t even got decent digital radio
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 8 July 2009
I had hopes for the Digital Britain report. It had the chance to do some original thinking […] Sadly, Lord Carter lacked the imagination or the guts of a Birmingham teacher and a lad who left school at 13 to work down a mine.
It’s not as though we don’t know what needs doing: which is to install fibre to the home. Ian Mackintosh pointed this out – and analysed the economic implications – in his book, Sunrise Europe, published in 1986. Yes, "we can’t afford it," though it turns out we could afford to dig up half the country to exploit short-term North Sea gas, to fight foreign wars, and to bail out a morally and intellectually bankrupt financial system.
More than 20 years later, European countries are well on the way to becoming what Mackintosh called OICs, "Once Industrialised Countries". And we still don’t have the infrastructure needed to support the information society that is our only hope of a prosperous future.
Carter surely appreciates this, but he offers no compelling strategies. Instead, he’s trying to juggle a hotchpotch of overlapping systems of the sort that Mackintosh rejected. However, even those of us who like hotchpotchery may be disappointed by his report.
Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB), for example, is a mess. It needs a complete overhaul that breaks the connection both with FM stations and FM broadcast areas. Simulcasting on FM and DAB doubles the costs of commercial stations without providing any extra listeners, or extra revenues, which seems to suit the BBC, but helps nobody else. It’s like launching Sky to deliver BBC TV at a slightly lower quality than you already have. No wonder it’s a flop.