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New 'broadband minister' expected later this week
Tuesday 18 May 2010 15:22:04 by John Hunt

A new broadband minister could be appointed later this week according to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). The Culture minister Ed Vaizey has been linked with the role as he is known to have debated the issue in the House of Commons. Talking to the BBC, Malcolm Corbett, Chief Executive of the Independent Networks Co-Operative Association said that it was vital to get broadband policy on track.

The previous government faced criticism for not having a full-time minister to deal with the UK's digital economy. Stephen Timms was appointed as the minister for Digital Britain in August 2009 whilst also holding the role of Financial Secretary to the Treasury, two jobs that could be seen to conflict as one involves raising tax revenue, whilst the other spending it. Ed Vaizey would not be conflicted in such a way.

"We need to appoint a minister as quickly as possible. Without it UK broadband risks drifting and that is not a good thing for UK competitiveness. [..] Ed Vaizey would be a good bet as he is on top of the issues.

Malcolm Corbett, (Chief Executive) Independent Networks Co-Operative Association

Conservative policy for broadband is to allow the market to lead the way in delivering high-speed, next-generation broadband services, with funding becoming available in 2012 from the BBC license fee to help address areas where the market has not been able to deliver. They plan to scrap the 50p 'phone-line' tax that Labour introduced in their budget which was to be used to fund next-generation broadband.


Posted by cyberdoyle over 7 years ago
The 50p a month broadband tax didn't make it through washup, it was dropped from the digital economy bill. Quite right too, it wouldn't even pay for the valuation office tax on lighting fibre to areas unable to get broadband so it wouldn't have been much good. I hope the new digitalbritain minister realises that by scrapping the windows tax on lit fibre then more private investors are likely to help the final third. Tax the harvest, not the seed corn...
Posted by gobbybobby over 7 years ago
Hope he hurrys up and gives me faster broadband. can't do squat with 1 meg. I wanna get ONLIVE when it is released need at least 1.5 meg (reccomended 2meg) to use it. Need 10 meg in my house with 4 BB users playing games, watching online TV, Downloading software updates all at same time. Try playing Battlefield Bad company 2 PC while someone is watching Iplayer in another room. Its not fun :(

Can't use Skyplayer very well. Its like a RIGHT is not given.
Posted by Guest_Again over 7 years ago
A 50p tax WOULD BE good fo btter speeds - Just the same if they csaRGED us road tax and they could us themoney to f'ix OUR roads?

Posted by Gamerwillz over 7 years ago
@ gobbybobby. I agree, I do hope he hurry things up and give me faster broadband too. Hopefully he's a good one.
Posted by meldrew over 7 years ago
Can somebody please explain to me how playing games over the net benefits the economy. Oh, and I thought most people had access to television too!
Posted by Somerset over 7 years ago
meldrew - and would faster broadband help literacy?
Posted by gobbybobby over 7 years ago
''Can somebody please explain to me how playing games over the net benefits the economy''

The COmpiter games idustry is Worth alot of money. The government feels it is an importent industry.

I live in a valley. We cannot get freeview, radio, mobile signel here. We do have sky, but thats expensive. The Lib Dems say they wann go over the Digital Britain bill. Expect story be on here later today.
Posted by mishminx over 7 years ago
I agree with Cyberdole, the tax situation needs to change. Vaizey has previously indicated a willingness to see this through. With the tax up for review, Vaizey could be a good choice.
Posted by adflex12 over 7 years ago
I'm sure Ed will do a good job but from where I'm sitting I cant see it happening. He hasn't a clue about what he's talking about. The reason a £50p tax was suggested was because Industry would not react to the demand from consumers in rural and not spots areas. The market never did and only reacted once pushed. RDA's and groups like Malcolms had to get communities to show the demand before they would react.
Posted by adflex12 over 7 years ago
How does he expect to push govt services online when those he's trying to reach live in a notspot or a low level service area. Most are not in affluent areas and are in areas of deprivation. The market really wants to help these people get their broadband I think not. Typical really only worry about those that can afford it. this is what is meant by Big society
Posted by csimon over 7 years ago
@gobbybobby: Unsubscribe from Sky, then it won't be expensive! You can keep your Sky box and still receive the 100+ channels that are available free. It's only necessary to pay Sky if you want their channel packages. It's your choice as to whether it's expensive or not, you don't have to pay just because you can't get Freeview. Alternatively, buy a Freesat box instead, especially if you want to record or don't want your EPG cluttered with hundreds of channels you can't receive. Freesat was meant for people like us who are unable to receive a basic TV service via terrestrial means.
Posted by kijoma over 7 years ago
re "The reason a £50p tax was suggested was because Industry would not react to the demand from consumers in rural and not spots areas. " , not exactly true, the industry is there to feed these areas, BIS on behalf of prev gov though decided that the ONLY technology they would assist is Fibre.. so they only have themselves to blame when they again thrown money at the large incumbents and the result is less than satisfactory. As they did when the big rush was to enable exchanges as "that must be the answer".
Posted by AspieMum over 7 years ago
Back to broadband speeds. Surely they can do better in this day and age than 8Meg ends up 1.5Meg by the time it reaches your house when the exchange is only a couple of miles down the road (1.9 miles according to That is with the old SKY (I'm just switching to their new 20Meg packages). Still its better than the about 700KB/800KB I got with AOL before I switched.
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