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Carter under attack over Digital vision

<div>CRITICS were yesterday lining up to say that Lord Carter&rsquo;s Digital Britain Report had failed to prepare the nation for a digital future.&nbsp;<br />&nbsp;</div>
<div>The communications minister, who is leaving the government this summer, outlined plans to use part of the BBC&rsquo;s &ldquo;switchover surplus&rdquo; &ndash; money earmarked to pay for the digital switchover &ndash; and a new 50p-a-month telephone tax to help fund universal 2Mbps broadband access.<br />&nbsp;</div>
<div>Part of the BBC surplus will also be used to fund regional news and possibly children&rsquo;s programming on commercial broadcasters, the report said.&nbsp;<br />&nbsp;</div>
<div>But the much-anticipated report failed to give a clear direction on the proposed partnership between Channel 4 and BBC Worldwide.<br />&nbsp;</div>
<div>Shadow Culture minister Jeremy Hunt said the white paper was a &ldquo;colossal disappointment&rdquo;.<br />&nbsp;</div>
<div>Culture minister Ben Bradshaw confirmed BBC fears when he said that the majority of the &pound;200m earmarked for universal broadband would come from the switchover surplus.<br />&nbsp;</div>
<div>In addition, a &ldquo;small part&rdquo; of this fund could be used to pay for regional news shows on commercial stations in Scotland, Wales and an English region.<br />&nbsp;</div>
<div>&ldquo;The Trust will not sit quietly by and watch this happen,&rdquo; said BBC Trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons, who says that the &ldquo;top slicing&rdquo; of license payers&rsquo; money would compromise the BBC&rsquo;s independence.<br />&nbsp;</div>
<div>But John Hardie, chief executive officer of news producer ITN, said: &ldquo;Those &nbsp;who are shielded from commercial realities should not be allowed to delay this funding intervention.&rdquo;&nbsp;<br />&nbsp;</div>
<div>The report also said the OFT had recommended that the rules governing local news papers should not be relaxed, a major blow to the struggling sector.&nbsp;</div>