I’ve had an interesting day digesting the Digital Britain report from the UK’s Minister for Communications, Technology and Broadcasting, Lord Carter. My colleague Mark Mulligan will be posting his response to some of the detail of the report, but for now I wanted to reflect on why this is a landmark document.
That job title, for a start, is something we haven’t seen before. The UK government has never really given the impression that it cares about the web or digital technology, but perhaps as another benefit of the Obama presidency, Gordon Brown decided it was time to create a new role for a big hitter.
For hard core politicos the Department of Culture, Media and Sport has traditionally been seen as a lightweight gig, derided as the Ministry of Fun. Today we had the Prime Minister acknowledging the wider value of a digital infrastructure, describing it as a "backbone of the economy." As an analyst know that’s true, I just didn’t expect to hear it from Gordon Brown.
There will be criticisms of the document’s contents – I have quite a few reservations about its analysis – but nobody can criticize it for lack of ambition or scope. I’m happy enough – for now – to see the UK government recognize that "the digital information and communications sector is one of the sectors in the economy, alongside energy and financial services, upon which the whole of the economy rests."