The Technology Strategy Board, the government body for business innovation in technology, plans to unveil its digital test-bed projects by Christmas.
The scheme, outlined in yesterday’s Digital Britain report, will see the TSB charged with working with industry partners, business and users to develop and trial business models, network operating models and service platforms.
The TSB has earmarked £10m funding for the digital test-beds, which aim to create new business and charging methods to enable content owners to profit from their work, and support the creation and integration of cross-platform content products and services.
It plans to study user behaviour for new advertising and charging models, including virtual currency for digital content and micropayments, new services and technologies by commercial and public businesses, and new business relationships between networks, operators and content owners.
It will also include trials of services and technologies enabled by next-generation access, content and content-aware network operation, and controlled suspension of copyright protection.
The Digital Britain report stated the TSB would assess the feasibility of micropayment systems, where viewers are charged for watching on-demand content via a pay-per-view system, and proposed the creation of a single billing agency to develop a low-cost billing mechanism.
It’s part of the report’s aim to explore how micropayment mechanisms could evolve for video-on-demand content. The Digital Britain report acknowledged the “clear and substantial market” for VOD but also stated that it’s difficult to establish a pay-per-view model for on-demand content.
The report said, “The challenge would be to establish a single billings agency, capable of providing an open and transparent service to all rights holders, that’s independent of industry participants.”
new media age understands this scheme could be among the first of the test-beds to launch.
David Bott, director of innovation programmes at the TSB, said the body is keen to announce the test-beds by Christmas so they’re ready to launch in the New Year.
The TSB will work with a number of partners including the National Endowment for Science and Technology and the Arts (Nesta) on two test-beds which will examine how people use ultra-high-speed broadband in the UK, and the potential impact of collaborative and user-centered business models on the wider digital community.
Andrew Chitty, MD of production company Illumina Digital and a member of the Digital Britain Steering Board, said, “The test-beds will have real users and are potentially very exciting.”