Hi-tech firms throughout the Midlands are being urged to take advantage of a new action plan aimed at securing the UK’s place at the forefront of innovation and investment in the digital and communications sector.
The new ‘Digital Britain’ blueprint is to be developed by Stephen Carter, the first Minister for Communications, Technology and Broadcasting.
Already a major force in the economy, worth over £52 billion a year, the digital and communication industries are growing in significance as the country faces up to current financial and market challenges.
Drawing on expertise from across Government, regulators and industry, Lord Carter’s report will be a comprehensive analysis of the country’s digital economy.
Titled ‘Digital Britain,’ the work has at its core an ambition to accelerate the rate of growth, and cement the UK’s position as a world leader in the knowledge and learning economy.
To achieve this Stephen Carter will bring forward proposals for both Government and industry, to support the development of these critical sectors.
Mr Carter said: “Communications have been revolutionised in the last 20 years, with consumers and businesses alike embracing the opportunities and taking advantage of the reality of the new technologies.
“Digital Britain is about capturing the opportunities on offer for UK PLC and the public, and advancing our standing as a world leader in these industries.
“Our ambition is to see Digital Britain as the leading major economy for innovation, investment and quality in the digital and communications industries. We will seek to bring forward a unified framework to help maximise the UK’s competitive advantage and the benefits to society.”
Stephen Carter’s report will take forward and build on the wide-ranging work from Government, regulators and industry that already addresses issues around communications and convergence.
Culture Secretary Andy Burnham said: “We need to move quickly if we are to maximise the benefits of convergence.
“Over the last year we’ve worked with experts to get a clear understanding of the issues to address and obstacles to overcome if our businesses and citizens are to take full advantage of technology.
“Now is the time to move from the think tank phase to the delivery phase and focus on the actions needed to bring benefits for both the economy and an enriched society. “This is a change of gear by the Government, and the Digital Britain Report, led by Stephen, will be a key contribution to the digital future.”
Secretary of State for Business Peter Mandelson said: “The Government is determined that the UK will strengthen its place as a world leader in the communications and digital technology sectors.
“The digital economy will be central to this. The Digital Britain report will lead the way.”
* Broadband Development: examining options for maximising participation and levels of service across the UK;
* Digital Radio: identifying barriers to wider investment and development of digital radio platforms, and drawing lessons from the current digital switchover television programme;
* Investment in Content: exploring business models for a digital age, and the impact of new media on the content market;
* Internet: looking at a range of issues including security.