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Carter hits back at critics

Communications minister Lord Carter has spoken out against critics of the Digital Britain report, saying he never expected to find a “digital nirvana” for the UK.

Carter said the report had been designed to pinpoint achievable practical solutions for the country, but admitted the report did not extend far enough into the areas of improving digital literacy, creating a digital environment for government or spelling out a definitive solution for Channel 4.

“Inevitably, if we had tried to do all those things, you end up trying to boil the ocean,” he said at this morning's conference at the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts.

“You have got to draw the line somewhere.”

Carter said that the entire broadcasting eco-system was facing radical change with the tie up of Channel 4, and he genuinely did not yet have an ideal solution to securing long term funding for the broadcaster.

He added that the report had been designed to foster debate and discussion on the digital future of the country, including the future of Channel 4, and to find practical solutions within a year, rather than give long term absolute outcomes or “searing analysis” which would be ineffectual.

“The sort of short hand media debate which has characterised this [report] is let the market do it or the government should get out of the way. That is such a superficial misunderstanding of how we got to where we are that it really doesn't deserve to be part of the debate,” he said.

“What we need to work out is how we marry public policy and the market together to give ourselves the best placed competitive advantage and the physical infrastructure we need for next generation capabilities.”

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