Digital sector "punches below its weight"

From Colin Mann in London

Stephen Carter, the UK's first Minister for Communications, Technology and Broadcasting, considers that the digital sector, while vitally important to the economy, punches below its weight.

Lord Carter is spearheading a report – Digital Britain – intended to be a comprehensive analysis of the digital economy, 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.

He told members of the Broadcasting Press Guild that the UK was at a critical tipping point for access to broadband in terms of availability and participation. He said there was a potential to move the discussion and decisions from being "important" to sectors such as broadband, broadcasting, mobile and the Internet to "critical".

"It is an underpinning sector … we are going to be a knowledge economy. To maximise your competitive advantage you need access, infrastructure, interoperability, competitive pricing, high-quality content, and an intellectual property regime that allows those who are creative some protection to enable them to earn something from their creativity," he said.

He felt that it wasn't the role of government to 'pump-prime' broadband with a view to providing the UK with a universal, high-speed broadband fibre network, but that it could help with the vision.

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