of New Media & Technology, Ashley Highfield, today outlined the
corporation's vision for a broadband Britain, and called upon the collaboration
and co-operation of Government and industry to avoid a digital underclass.
Delivering the keynote speech at the Broadband Britain
Summit, Highfield described broadband as a new era in the world of content
delivery, and explained that the BBC was already working on an on-demand
strategy that would use the potential of broadband to deliver its content
in new ways.
He added that a higher speed of connection could offer
both the BBC and the UK media industry new ways of involving audiences
and providing them with choice.
He said: "The BBC sees broadband as a means of
enabling us to place greater emphasis on community and individuals'
"It will open up new ways
to involve people in civic process and institutions, let us create personalised
learning tools and tailored services for minority groups, as well as
enabling more convenient way to watch and listen to our programmes and
However, Highfield stressed that the BBC alone could
not drive broadband take up.
Government and industry, he said, would need to work
together more closely if they were to surmount the three key barriers
to broadband adoption: affordability, accessibility and awareness.
The BBC could play a key role in helping to drive broadband,
said Highfield, through its high-quality original content, as well as
its rich archive of programmes, but a fully connected digital Britain
could only be achieved through collaboration and co-operation.
In order to explain his point, Highfield called for
key players to initiate a digital literacy campaign in 2005 "to
target those members of society who might find themselves on the wrong
side of the digital divide".