In 2009, the UK Government published its Digital Britain report, and set out an ambition “to secure the UK’s position as one of the world’s leading digital knowledge economies”.
Building on this, the Royal Society of Edinburgh set up a Digital Scotland working group, chaired by Professor Michael Fourman, to take a broader view of the ways in which technological change could be stimulated and exploited for economic and social benefit, and to explore these within the particular economic, social and geographic context of Scotland. The group’s intention is to stimulate debate, to identify priorities, to suggest the role that governmental and non-governmental factors might play in exploiting the digital world and to recommend some strategic priorities for Scotland.
The first draft of the Digital Scotland report was launched on Wednesday 30 June. It concentrates on a number of vital issues that need urgently to be addressed in Scotland and the rest of the UK to ensure that the coverage, speed and use of our digital infrastructure will allow us to grasp the opportunities of the new digital world. We must ensure that our targets match those of at least most of our competitors – to do less is to be left behind.
The Digital Scotland report concentrates on four key areas – users, infrastructure, content and benchmarks – and develops four major recommendations:
- to remove fiscal and regulatory obstacles to universal connectivity;
- to enable competition and cooperation;
- to stimulate development and uptake; and
- to ensure universal access and digital inclusion.
This is a work in progress. The final report will evolve considerably, particularly in developing the key challenges and in elaborating recommendations that will address them. This can best be done if we receive comments and suggestions from a wide range of stakeholders. We would ask you to consider this draft and suggest ways in which it should be amended by identifying opportunities and obstacles, and suggesting ways that they might be addressed. This will be a more robust long-term strategy.
Comments should be addressed to Susan Bishop, Consultations Officer, Royal Society of Edinburgh, 22-26 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2PQ by 3rd September 2010.