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Current hot topics - tell us what you think.

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The Chair of Ofcom’s national Advisory Committee for Scotland (ACS), Professor Philip Schlesinger, has written an informative book review of Media Regulation: Governance and the Interests of Citizens and Consumers by Peter Lunt and Sonia Livingstone (London: Sage, 2012).

New book looks at the challenges facing regulators
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Are we focussing enough on the role of cities as prime drivers of social and economic hope and growth, rather than as sinks of deprivation and division?

In terms of communications delivery and policy the historic debate has often crystallised into comparisons between urban and rural; the advantaged and the disadvantaged; the under-served and super-served. Comparisons which looked at rural areas as very dispersed communities and cities as very concentrated communities.

The rush to the cities

Cities are the main economic drivers
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I had the opportunity to participate in a stimulating virtual seminar organized by Columbia University’s Center for Tele-Information (CITI). It featured former US FCC Chairman Reid Hunt and Blair Levin, who authored the FCC’s National Broadband Plan.

They spoke about their new book How Technology Can Fix the Budget, Revive the American Dream, and Establish Obama’s Legacy. I had not read the book, but their summary – however abbreviated - reminded me of the risks of not focusing attention on organizational innovation.

Challenge is to make the most of improving technology
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Warnings that the internet could be a “source of global panic” should be treated with great caution.

At times it can appear that the internet is a place where rumours and misinformation prosper. Equally, the net is somewhere where debate, comment and consensus reign.

I make the point because of a story in this week’s Guardian where Larry Elliott wrote a useful summary of issues arising from a World Economic Forum report.

Rumours may prosper but the truth finds a way
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One facet of the Scottish government's digital strategy is for Scotland to be world class by 2020.

In October, the government committed itself to defining what this might mean by December of this year: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/0040/00404183.pdf

The Communications Consumer Panel has argued that, alongside investment in infrastructure, government needs to invest much more in encouraging take-up and use of digital services. See link at bottom.

Greater simplicity will engage more users
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A recent survey conducted for the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) led to the rather remarkable headline that the British are ‘the most emotionally attached to their mobile phones’.

Advertisers need to be turn on to the possibilities
Digital Radio

The humble radio signal has evolved rapidly from transmission over RF to multiple pathways to the listener including analogue RF, DAB, and apps which use 3G/4G/Wi-fi.

In this sea of acronyms there is an acknowledgement that radio has changed and will continue to adapt to a world of smartphones and apps.

In the UK DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) is the dominant digital platform in the UK with a 20.4% share of all radio listening.

Radio is more than a little box in your kitchen nowadays
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Maria Miller, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, has given Ofcom the go-ahead for the renewal of Channel 3 services.  New licences will be issued before the current ones expire in 2014, the year in which Scotland’s independence referendum will take place.

Getting to grips with localism
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Bristol, like many cities across the UK, is developing a number of infrastructure initiatives aimed at stimulating the use of the Internet and related technologies. 

One of the Bristol initiatives is ‘Gigabit Bristol’ http://www.connectingbristol.org/gigabit-bristol/, which was the focus of a presentation to Ofcom's Advisory Commitee for England (ACE) recently and follows a similar presentation on Digital Manchester previously.

UK cities gearing up for a Gigabyte revolution
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Having recently heard from Dave Carter, one of the leaders of Digital Manchester, Ofcom's Advisory Committee for England believes that the UK has much to learn from digital initiatives being undertaken by cities across the UK.

And we believe we can help identify promising approaches to the use of media and digital technologies to enhance communication and information services to the diverse communities of our urban areas.

What do you think?