The man responsible for the forthcoming Digital Britain report, which will lay out the government’s strategy to promote the UK’s high-tech infrastructure and economy, may quit after the report is officially published next week.
According to The Times newspaper, communications minister Lord Carter of Barnes is set to return to a lucrative position in business after an 18-month spell in government. Before being appointed as a strategy adviser to Gordon Brown, Carter was a highly paid public relations executive.
A preliminary version of the Digital Britain report was released earlier this year. At the time it was met with criticism for being insufficiently ambitious, especially the plan to make a 2Mbps broadband connection available to every home by 2012. “By 2012, 2Mbps will seem as outdated as pigeon post,” Nick Jones, a Gartner analyst, wrote on his blog at the time.
It is expected that business minister Peter Mandelson will oversee implementation of the Digital Britain report’s recommendations.
Earlier this month, Gordon Brown lost another of his advisers on technological issues when Tom Watson MP stood down as minister for digital engagement after The Daily Telegraph published a critical story about his use of parliamentary expenses.
But the prime minister has already brought in a new roster of acolytes. This week, Brown revealed that Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the worldwide web and semantic web proponent, would be advising on the project to make more government data publicly available. Martha Lane Fox, founder of online travel agent Lastminute.com, was appointed digital inclusion champion to promote wider Internet adoption in the UK.