To Whom It May Concern – An Open Letter to Lord Carter and the ‘Digital Britain – Interim Report’ Team

Dear Lord Carter,

Drawing on inspiration from the Power of Information Taskforce Report (beta) [ ], in which members of the public can comment on individual sections of that report, and in response to your statement in Digital Britain – The Interim Report that you “welcome feedback and comments on this interim report, before 12th March 2009”, we have republished “Digital Britain – The Interim Report” in a way that supports commenting on the report at the paragraph level at

Within a few hours of becoming publicly accessible on February 4th, 2008, comments started appearing on the site, with the site itself receiving several hundred visitors within just the first two days of availability.

We hereby invite you to consider comments made on Write To Reply’s Digital Britain site as comments made to you in response to Digital Britain – The Interim Report.

There are several ways in which you can view the comments made to the report on the WriteToReply website, as well as “trackbacks” from people who have linked to items within the report from elsewhere on the web:

  • by visiting the website itself: we split the report up into separate pages at the level of numbered subsections. Comments can be viewed at the section/subsection level, (for example: all comments on section 3.1); at the paragraph level, (for example, comments at the paragraph level); and by the name of the commenter, allowing you to consider individual responses to the report (for example, comments by user);
  • by subscribing to comments via an RSS/feed reader: an RSS feed is available for all recent comments (for example, recent comments feed) or on a per (sub)section basis (for example, comments on Section 2);
  • as a WordPress XML export file: we are happy to provide you, on request, with an XML file in the WordPress export format containing a full set of comments received on the site.

We are also happy to provide you, again on request, with access to the Google Analytics reports for the website.

We hope that you find the comments using this initiative useful and we are more than happy to discuss with you any questions you may have regarding the operation of the site and how it may benefit your work on the Digital Britain report.

— Tony Hirst
— Joss Winn

Contact: (email) or @writetoreply (Twitter).

Dated: February 6th, 2009.

Note: This letter was also sent to Lord Carter using Write to Them on February 6th, 2009.


9 thoughts on “To Whom It May Concern – An Open Letter to Lord Carter and the ‘Digital Britain – Interim Report’ Team

  1. Martin Banbury

    Stephen Carter’s report does not mention ‘Homeworking’ once. To my mind, that misses the key benefit to fast broadband access in the home.

    Britain needs a general drive toward ‘efficiency’, in its effectiveness context. For example, homeworking means that people don’t waste time commuting, clog roads, overfill trains, get stressed (so ‘ill’) and waste fuel travelling to work. Family life will improve (crime benefit?), companies will save money through the need for smaller offices, essential transport speeds will improve etc etc etc. And all that hinges on people at home having better access and higher speeds from the net (or ‘grid’ as it will become). Its also predicated on bosses getting their minds round the outdated ‘If I cant see them they wont work’ or ‘We need to work together because otherwise communication and team spirit will fail’ nonsense. It links to the need for better digital and general education (which is mentioned in the report, and is a focus by the Conservative party) so that in the future we have smarter people, with better skills, to make the UK the world’s nation of choice for all services. The government needs to stimulate the economy, and spending money on traditional infrastructure might put cash out there, but how much better if its spent wisely on things that will provide us with a long term benefit applying a meaningful integrated strategy. Better roads might marginal help productivity, but transforming the UK into the best, most efficient services supplier is a far better long term solution. Maybe that way we’ll stave off long term financial demise…

  2. John Frieslaar

    As a starting point for discussion the Digital Britain document has the potential to underpin and drive the UK economy for a long time; and as such should take account of the fact that we need to consider the effects of this new infrastructure or service network over the next 20-25 years. The document is a little vague in content and does not capture the key issues that are driving the industry, such as virtualisation of services, the portability of services, the way in which the users of the service will want to interact with their data and content, the way that a new network or infrastructure has the potential to support other industries, and to develop a much greener Britain. The report needs to consider the needs of today’s business, the way we can guarantee high-bandwidth services are supported over time (we cannot go back to the same problem we currently face with copper and 2G wireless) and the needs of our future generations (those only starting their education now), how will they use the legacy infrastructure that will be 10-15 years old when they graduate and start to rely on the network to drive their future careers. There is a real need to understand how technologies can work together to enable Digital Britain, not to compete in a fashion that means someone needs to loose, currently I see it as a limited bag of money being wanted by many different technologies, all of which only serve a limited market and have questionable future evolution paths, surely we must work back from the future and determine the needs, not start with today’s technology and the need for USO and the driving factors. I would welcome this report being more service focused and future focused, with a large chunk of Green thinking as to how we could help UK plc become more sustainable through becoming Digital Britain.

  3. Rob McCardle

    No to DRM, no to ISP snooping, no to Music Industry dabbling with my packets. No to restrictions on the free press via government intervention at an ISP level.

    We will march through the streets of Shoreditch

  4. cyberdoyle

    congrats to all who set up this site and the write to reply, it is brilliant and i hope that the powers that be appreciate your innovation!

Comments are closed.