The Independent View: a Digital Economy, can the Coalition Government make it a reality?

Delivering a Digital Economy is a critical test for the new government. A pledge in the Coalition Government Agreement, the Departments of Business and Culture, Media & Sport now face the challenging task of ensuring broadband is rolled out across the UK by end of this Parliament. But why is access to broadband—and next generation broadband– so crucial?

There are two crucial econ-political reasons for the government to support the expansion of broadband. The coalition has emphasised repeatedly that broadband infrastructure and access to services, particularly for the UK’s business community, will drive the UK economy out recession. Widening access to next generation broadband will hugely enhance the reach and ability of businesses to expand their markets and act as a much needed catalyst for wider economic growth. Second, broadband will become one of the principal mechanisms for delivering socio economic growth.

Against a changing economic environment, broadband can provide the means to bring about a revolution in consumer services, and will be integral to Britain realising its potential as a world leader in delivering a ‘Digital Society’. With next generation mobile broadband access and services now available, the potential benefits include, increasing access, and lowering the cost of healthcare with solutions that can remotely monitor patients and provide real time data to clinicians, mobile machine to machine technologies that are already supporting the roll-out of smart energy grids, smart traffic management etc, and the ‘mobilisation of public services’, by empowering citizens through eGovernment and eLearning.

Everything Everywhere and the FSB have come together to organise a fringe at the Liberal Democrat conference which will highlight the need and opportunity that access to next generation broadband can provide (particularly for business), as well as interrogate the roles that government and the telecoms industry need to play to ensure aspirations are turned into digital reality.

It is next Tuesday lunchtime (1pm-2pm) in Suite 9, Jury’s Inn in Liverpool, Everything Everywhere (the newly integrated telecoms business made up of T-Mobile & Orange) and the Federation of Small Businesses are hosting a fringe event on ‘Digitising Britain’s Economy – The way forward’. Panel speakers will include BIS Minister Ed Davey MP; Deputy CEO of Everything Everywhere Richard Moat; FSB National Chairman John Walker & representative from the Office of the UK Digital Champion Graham Walker. Chairing the fringe is Consumer Technology Editor of the Daily Telegraph Matt Warman.

Do come and join us for what should be a lively debate!

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This entry was posted in Conference, Op-eds and The Independent View.
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One Comment

  • Surely if it’s going to be a debate there should be conflicting views ?

    This looks likie a bunch of people pushing their own pre-determined agenda in the name of self-interest.

    I have worked within the technology sector for years. Am no luddite. Yet have yet to hear a cogent argument for next-gen broadband. Forget your socio-this and econo-that. The only reasons are purely commercial and as such the government should keep their noses out.

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