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BBC R&D explores idea of a ‘Public Service Internet’

The BBC’s Research and Development arm is exploring ways in which the internet can be adapted to better serve public interests.

The new generation of BBC R&D projects, dubbed ‘Public Service Internet,’ will see the UK public service broadcaster advancing the idea of an internet where public service activity is much easier than it is today.

The BBC’s Public Service Internet model is based on four key themes: public-controlled data that gives people more privacy; equal access for everyone; a ‘healthy digital public sphere’ that includes safe digital public spaces and the promotion of digital wellbeing; and public service networking via investment in technologies built specifically for public service organisations.

“While the internet has been hugely transformative in our modern world, it wasn’t developed with requirements of public service organisations like the BBC in mind and as a result there are aspects of today’s network that make it harder to deliver public service outcomes than commercial ones – advertising is easy, creating safe online spaces for debate remains hard,” said the BBC in statement outlining the project.

“With this in mind the BBC, in common with other organisations concerned about the public good such as the Mozilla Foundation, Doteveryone and the Open Data Institute, is exploring ways in which today’s internet can be re-imagined, changed, or perhaps even re-invented in ways that better support the delivery of public benefits and reduce its potential for harm.”

The BBC said it is creating a multidisciplinary and collaborative platform for R&D to address challenges, explore new opportunities, and re-imagine the internet to deliver new forms of public value.