Times cuts through the spin to reveal a shivering naked emperor and his sidekick Carter leaving government
The Prime Minister promises inThe Times today that the Government will help the private sector to move “farther and faster” to provide the next generation of superfast broadband, and the aim is that all households should enjoy broadband speeds of 10 megabits. But today Lord Carter of Barnes, the departing Communications Minister, will promise only that all households will be able to get a minimum standard speed of 2 megabits.
It was known already that the 2-megabit proposal would be partfinanced with £200 million, taken from a BBC-run scheme to help the elderly and vulnerable to change from analogue to digital television.
Lord Carter’s Digital Britain White Paper will reveal that the Government has been unable to strike deals with any of the main players on key elements of the digital strategy, including:
— a plan to take millions of pounds from the BBC licence fee to subsidise other media activities, including ITV’s regional news and local newspapers;
— the merger of BBC Worldwide and Channel 4;
— who will pay for fibre-optic connections across the country;
— the release of mobile radio spectrum by Vodafone and O2 for new national wireless broadband.
Instead, there will be only a modest package of initiatives and tax breaks to help BT and Virgin Media to extend faster, fibre-optic connections around the whole country