Digital guru lashes UK

June 16, 2000

Nicholas Negroponte (pictured), head of the MIT Media Lab, has accused the British government of failing to protect the country's digital future by imposing a tax on internet technology. Professor Negroponte, author of Being Digital, said in London last week that the government was "screwing its children and grandchildren" by auctioning next-generation mobile phone licences, writes Tim Greenhalgh.

He told the International Advertising Association world congress in Westminster that the Pounds 22.5 billion paid for the licences would translate into an extra cost of up to $2,000 per subscriber, stifling research, innovation and access for the next-generation mobile internet.

"What happened in the UK was disastrous," he said. "It is the worst thing that could have happened to the consumer. It is unsustainable and crazy. The rules should have been different. For the other countries that are planning auctions, please, don't pull that trick."

Licence-winners should have been chosen for bids that included lowest cost for consumers, the most cellular infrastructure build, the most phones in schools and public places, and the most investment in creativity. "That's what you should be doing - stimulating innovation, stimulating the economy, stimulating the whole telecommunications process. Instead? A boat anchor," he said.

Professor Negroponte also warned the advanced nations that the developing world would use the models of investment in computer and internet-based education pioneered by Ireland, and more recently Costa Rica, to leapfrog into commanding economic positions.

Feature, page 18.

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 10 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Business Development Officer YORK ST JOHN UNIVERSITY
Lecturer in Linguistics YORK ST JOHN UNIVERSITY
Associate Professor/Professor EDINBURGH NAPIER UNIVERSITY

Most Commented

Brexit, EU referendum

Joanna Williams voted Leave, and has been left disappointed by the academy’s reaction to the EU referendum result

Elly Walton illustration (7 July 2016)

Researchers in the liberal arts seem to have made it their mission to communicate in the most obscure fashion, says Zachary Foster

Daniel Mitchell illustration (14 July 2016)

Frank Furedi says the mournful mood on campus and the disparagement and silencing of Leave supporters betray an isolated scholarly class

Michael Parkin illustration (7 July 2016)

Rising immigration-related costs and lack of employer support send an unwelcoming message to international staff, says Jason Danely

Huge eyes peering through door windows

Some scholars claim plans are more about improving staff visibility to students than brightening corridors