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Government Could Use Set Top Boxes To Provide 2mbps Broadband

There is a distinct possibility that the government will be considering using set top boxes to achieve the aim of propagating 2mbps universal broadband access across the land.

Speaking at the Broadcasting Press Guild, the Culture minister Andy Burnham said that this option would fulfill the plans proposed by Lord Carter in his Digital Britain report.

He added that "There is the potential for the switchover programme to empower people in that way through looking at the core receiver requirements. The ten per cent who haven't switched off probably don't have broadband either."

Under the Digital Switchover Help Scheme, up to £603 million from the TV licence fee are expected to be provided to people ho are expected to have the most difficulty making the switch to digital TV. Up to 7 million households are expected to qualify for the help.

It is therefore highly likely that the government will make it compulsory for the set top box manufacturers who enlist either for Freesat or Freeview as part of the DSHS, to include some broadband or internet capabilities.

Most current set top boxes from Virgin Media or Sky already have some kind of internet access features built in, especially for more advanced functions like Video on Demand.

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Our Comments

As mentioned before on ITproportal, if 10 percent of household don't want to use broadband, leave them alone. It is great if the government comes ahead with the DSHS plan but short of actually forcing the private telecommunications sector from serving those millions of households on a subsidised scheme, there's not much that can be done. Who will go and install the landlines necessary for the broadband connectivity? How will it be paid?

Related Links

The Digital Switchover Help Scheme (opens in new tab)

Burnham puts broadband in core receiver (opens in new tab)

Core receiver to help with universal broadband says Burnham (opens in new tab)

Freesat boxes could deliver broadband (opens in new tab)

Set-top boxes could help deliver 2Mbps (opens in new tab)

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.