A report spearheaded by Great Britain’s minister for communications, technology and broadcasting calls for a “universal service commitment” that would expand broadband service to every British household by 2012. Issued late last week, the “Digital Britain” report provides interim recommendations on the upgrading of wireless, wireline and broadcast infrastructure that would spur job creation and also “secure Britain’s place at the forefront of the global digital economy.” In addition to promoting a “dynamic investment climate” for digital broadband services and content, the 22-point plan outlined in the report seeks to ensure “fairness and access” and the development of “infrastructure, skills and take-up to enable widespread online delivery of public services.” Although BT and other service providers currently offer average broadband speeds in excess of 3 Mbps, the goal of the program’s universal service initiative is to provide each of the United Kingdom’s 26 million households with access to minimum download speeds of 2 Mbps. According to communications, technology and broadcasting minister Stephen Carter, the cost of bringing universal broadband access to the UK would be met by “industry working in partnership with government,” as a government-led strategy group would examine the capabilities of the nation’s network operators and issues of supply and demand in assessing the level of any government funding. Because the government anticipates that universal broadband services will be delivered by “a mixture of fixed and mobile, wired and wireless, means,” the report further recommends adoption of a framework that would enable the nation’s wireless operators to “realign their existing holdings, reuse the spectrum, and start to move to next-generation mobile services.” Other recommendations include (1) allocation of additional spectrum resources for next-generation wireless services, (2) the promotion of network sharing, and (3) the removal of disincentives to investment. The government is soliciting industry comment on the draft reports which is expected to be issued in final form this summer. Welcoming the report and its timing, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown proclaimed digital broadband technology to be as important today as “roads, bridges, and trains were in the 20th century.”