Goodbye Ed Vaizey, hello Matthew Hancock
Politics is a funny old game and the last month has seen many changes, but generally the broadband world has carried on as usual, but with the news that the Rt Hon Ed Vaizey MP is leaving DCMS and his role as Minister of State for Digital and Culture there is a possibility (or risk depending on viewpoint) of change. The new Prime Minister has appointed Matthew Hancock MP (@MattHancockMP) as the new Minister of State for Digital & Culture.
Whilst we are sure not everyone agreed with what the Rt Hon Ed Vaizey MP said and did with regards to broadband in his term, as the longest ever minister serving in the role this did mean the industry and campaigners had been able to build a working relationship and with regards to the broadband side of things the long term knowledge gained was very important.
Matthew Hancock MP joins at a time when the projects to push superfast coverage to 95% are all pretty much underway so the chance of forcing any change of direction there are unlikely given the 18 months left to run before the target should be reached, but there is a lot of work to be done on the Universal Service Obligation and working to ensure that superfast roll-outs continue so that the 96 to 97% coverage figures many are hoping will be reached in the couple of years happen rather than be forgotten in all the political turmoil this summer.
For the UK technology as a whole, there are wider issues that also need clarity and a strong minister to work with, since the IP Bill with its controversial Internet Connection Records (ICR) that will store metadata on internet use and the continuing confusion over end to end encryption has much of the industry concerned and if handled poorly could persuade high value tech firms to locate elsewhere.