UK to get broadband co-ordinator

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The Government is to appoint a civil servant to take overall responsibility for coordinating the implementation of its broadband strategy.

News of the new job was confirmed in the Government's response to the second annual report published by the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG) late last year.

The position will not be a public figure. Instead, whoever takes up the role will work within the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and report directly to eminister Stephen Timms. Their job will be to drive the Government's broadband policy.

The appointment of a designated "broadband coordinator" was just one of fifteen recommendations put forward by the BSG in its report last year. Other issues included the aggressive promotion of broadband and the aggregation of public sector demand for high speed Net access.

Today, the Government said it "broadly accepted all of them [the recommendations]" claiming it will continue to work with the BSG advisory group to develop broadband strategy.

Said the eminister: "Broadband in the UK has really taken off over the last year.

"We now have one of the most competitive markets in Europe - with a wide choice of technology and some of the lowest prices worldwide. Over 32,000 people and businesses are signing up to broadband every week and more than 70 per cent of the population are now within its reach."

The Government's report today also said that as of February 2003 there were 1.5m broadband users in the UK.

Of course, with the Government's new definition of broadband ("a generic term describing a range of technologies operating at various data transfer speeds") it's best to take anything it says on the matter with a very large pinch of salt. ®

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