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Martha Lane Fox to take on more power as digital champion
Thursday 17 June 2010 16:25:18 by John Hunt

Martha Lane Fox, co-founder of, was made 'digital inclusion champion' under the last government tasked with getting more people online, with a particular focus on the poorest six million. The Times is reporting that Lane Fox will be given a stronger role in the government in the coming days which will see her take over some responsibilities that currently lie with Ofcom, particularly the areas covering digital participation. She will also be advising on how the government can make efficiency savings through moving more government services online.

The Conservatives previously said that Ofcom would "cease to exist" in its current form under a Tory government through its aim to cut quango's, and this could be one step toward that goal of rejigging the regulator. The Conservatives want to move policy making back in to government under the control of ministers and leave Ofcom's remit narrowed to a technical and enforcement role.


Posted by cyberdoyle over 7 years ago
great stuff. Martha is doing a great job for digital inclusion via raceonline2010, if she could take the place of ofcom and get us some decent broadband in rural areas wow, that would be good. Martha is well aware of all the problems with line length and how it puts people off going online if the connection is too weak. It has not been in her remit to do anything about it - perhaps it is now?.
Posted by chrysalis over 7 years ago
this is bad news for long line areas, its a policy that will aim to keep retail cost down (poorest) and that stifles investment.
Posted by Somerset over 7 years ago
What has she actually done so far, other than write and talk?
Posted by GMAN99 over 7 years ago
Like a true politician :)
Posted by cyberdoyle over 7 years ago
I think MLF is doing a good job, she is rallying people and organisations to help get access to places like sheltered housing and poorer urban areas. She works with UKonline centres to encourage people to use them and try out the internet. I just wish it was in her remit to raise awareness of the millions who would love a connection but can't have one. I won't be sad to see ofcom go, they haven't done a thing to help the final third. They are just lapdogs for BT. With no byte.
Posted by GMAN99 over 7 years ago
Lapdogs, they've done nothing but hinder BT? Don't expect any funding for broadband just look at the first taste of cuts we've had announced already.
Posted by tiggerrmummy over 7 years ago
Hmn, isnt this the same women that has decided everyone MUST have a pc or face technological ineptitude and be social pariahs just for not wanting a pc? She really put my mums back up over her insistance everyone must have a pc. She is not a good advert for the industry and personally I dont like anyone telling me I must have something just because its the in thing. Sorry but no, find someone more human.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 7 years ago
MLF hasn't decided everyone has to have a pc, she only points out that anyone without one is being left out, and tries to get them engaged. People online can make great savings, learn lots of stuff and be in the right place for social and health care as they get older. There are so many advantages to being online. Its not just an InThing. It is the most liberating thing this generation has seen.
Posted by Blognorton over 7 years ago
tiggermummy clearly has a PC, or the use of one, otherwise she would not post here, on this rather specialised site, or read this news item.

Do I detect the sweet stench of maturing hypocrisy perchance?
Posted by zyborg47 over 7 years ago
tiggerrmummy is correct, this Martha woman seems to think that everyone should have a p.c and everyone should be online. i don't think my 81 year old dad would be interested, yes i know there are people older than my Dad online. there are a few people in this street that are not online, most of them elderly.

This Martha woman is making out that people can't cope unless they go online.

I am online by my choice and there still a lot of things I will not do online.

Posted by cyberdoyle over 7 years ago
Martha isn't saying everyone should be online, she is saying that there are so many benefits to online access that we should all do our best to help people get those benefits. Time moves on, and elderly people who are tech literate have a much better chance of staying in their own homes for longer. Skyping the kids to stop them worrying, ordering supplies, keeping in touch with medical people - lots can be done online and more in the pipeline. Remote monitoring to save overnight hospital stays. Saving them hassle and saving the country money.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 7 years ago
Posted by chrysalis over 7 years ago
cyberdoyle, I have been homeless before, living with my sister, she got annoyed with me and the adsl was cutoff (this was back in 2001 before prices got silly as well) I was unemployed and in that situation but still when needed got myself internet access with a combination of using the library and net cafe's. Now days its much easier because internet is dirt cheap, even if its throttled to death it is still access.
Posted by chrysalis over 7 years ago
ultimately someone can buy a £20 dongle and payg use, for mission critical things such as online shopping and banking they wont go over very low usage limits. I think the biggest cost obstacle is getting the hardware to use the net a pc or laptop, but these can be got cheap also when look hard enough or even free. Try companies throwing old ones out.
Posted by drteeth over 7 years ago
I do wish governments would stop making famous people 'Tzars' eg Lord Sugar and Ms Fox. Anybody here could do a better job without a ego to bolster.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 7 years ago
maybe we could drteeth, but these tsars have the contacts to make things happen. We don't. All we can do is give them bullets and support them to get things happening. Dunno about siralan but I know martha isn't getting paid, and despite constant pain from her past injuries is pulling together a great team. Gotta love folk rich enough to volunteer eh?
Posted by herdwick over 7 years ago
"keeping in touch with medical people"

"Remote monitoring to save overnight hospital stays"

dream on, Chris. NHS IT = epic fail.
Posted by herdwick over 7 years ago
" the millions who would love a connection but can't have one "


just because you live in a crap spot at the junction of three counties doesn't mean you can extrapolate the % failure rate from 30 households up to 30 million. Vast numbers of those off line are in cities with good coverage but low takeup - in the 40s.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 7 years ago
estimated 6 million could get online but don't see the addition a proven 3 million want to be online but connections not good enough for current needs. BT & gov have admitted it in the digitalbritain report. Until we all have decent access digital inclusion isn't going to happen. I think half of the 6 million refuseniks have probably tried it and timed out. They don't know they need up to date computers, iplates etc etc. they taste the water and dislike it, never to return. refuseniks. due to crap tools and infrastructure.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 7 years ago
and Phil I know the NHS IT is an epic fail, but things will change. I hope they change in time to help us when we are old. There is so much that is happening in other countries with remote working, it is bound to catch on here as the younger doctors and nurses move up the food chain. Its the old dinosaurs holding things back at the moment, particularly in admin. The youngsters will move us along...
Posted by chrysalis over 7 years ago
I agree the uk is behind on remote working but I dont think thats related to low broadband takeup as we have reasonably high takeup already, I think its more to do with backward thinking business's who dont like the idea of not directly supervising employees and change.
Posted by chrisclarkgold over 7 years ago
Having met and been mightily impressed with MLF, she's championing society's need for all to be included in the digital world.

For people to be dismissive and say 'not for me', this might much more be a technofear rather than deciding not to engage. One thing I have strongly queried is why should qualifying to be in digital Britain require learning 150 year old keyboard skills? There's better ways now, speech driven, sensitised screens, and let's have new thinking on data entry devices.
Posted by wilsenda over 7 years ago
For a terrible moment there I thought you wise guys were talking about MILF, but thankfully I see the site is still pure.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 7 years ago
agree chrysalis, many dinosaurs in charge of big and small businesses, but main problem is despite high take up the connections are often poor or non existant and even good ones are throttled and capped which makes people witter and moan about them to others, and that puts people off. (yes I am guilty too) but I promote the internet to everyone and have engaged hundreds who can get connections, its the ones who want to do stuff and can't get online I campaign for. There are SO many...
Posted by bobdelamare over 7 years ago
Is this the same MLF whose company swallowed £millions of investors money and never turned a profit? Whose company appeared regularly on Watchdog to explain why they let so many people down. I think I'd rather have John Prescott.
Posted by Somerset over 7 years ago
cd - ' Remote monitoring to save overnight hospital stays.'

Is this happening anywhere? Needs tiny amounts of bandwidth.
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