The UK’s leading technology and communications experts convened for a Digital Britain summit in London on 17 April 2009. The prime minister, Gordon Brown, delivered the keynote speech at the summit, stressing the important role the broadband and media industry has to play in pulling the UK out of recession. Other key speakers included culture secretary, Andy Burnham, trade secretary, Lord Mandelson, and communications minister Lord Carter, who is heading the government’s Digital Britain project and is due to publish a final report in the summer, which is expected to precipitate major changes, including to the media merger regulatory regime.
In early March 2009, the OFT published a discussion paper on its exploratory review into the local and regional media merger regime, which was originally launched in February 2009. This discussion paper followed the earlier publication of Lord Carter’s Digital Britain Interim Report, in which the Government invited the OFT, together with Ofcom and other interested parties, to examine whether any changes were needed in the merger regime for local and regional media - with a particular focus on print media. It is anticipated that the OFT will submit its key findings and any recommendations to the Government to fit the timescale for publication of the final Digital Britain report, which is due in early summer 2009.