Re: Lost opportunity
"a great starting point would have been allowing the BBC to create their own; British nation style AWS system . . . to underpin their world status as a broadcaster. And add all those jobs for our young citizens, forming a part of a new UK industry, supporting the development of the BBC world wide."
Do you remember, in the early days of the web, the BBC (which did at that time very much have its fingers on the pulse of what would be coming to us in, as it were, Tomorrow's World) set up the BBC Networking Club (also, article about the BBCNC on the BBC website) as both one of the very first ISPs and a way to educate the public about (and how to use) the internet?
Apparently (I "heard this somewhere" (on usenet, I think), and can't cite a reliable source), one of the reasons that the BBC Networking Club was then shut down after a relatively short period of operation was that it was becoming far too popular and was making too much money (and was therefore risking stifling the emergence of other, purely commercial, ISPs).
There is an argument about the state (or an arm of the state) perhaps stifling the free market, but there is probably also an argument that an arm of the state can be that useful kickstarter of innovation which could then later spin off commercial companies, having built up a stable footing.
(And, yes, in a way, it is rather ironic that a bookseller, with a couple of servers, then became a server farm with an online bazaar attached, and then, having that ever growing server farm, decided to fill it up with online television, and then started creating tv programmes and films of its own…)