Timms adds Digital Britain duties

Treasury minister takes on wide-ranging brief

U.K. government treasury minister Stephen Timms has been given responsibility for the Digital Britain initiative, a wide-ranging brief that covers the future of broadcasting and telcos in the digital age.

Timms will oversee the development of the infrastructure to give all homes access to fast broadband Internet by 2012. This will be funded through a £6 ($10.20) a year levy on all phone lines.

He inherits the task of forging a partnership between BBC Worldwide, the pubcaster’s commercial arm, and Channel 4, the cash-strapped broadcaster funded by the state and advertising income. The objective is to dip into the wealthy BBCW’s pockets to bail out C4, which has not been greeted with much glee by the BBC.

Timms also will need to override BBC resistance to a plan to take a slice of its license fee to pay for regional news and children’s programming on other TV outlets.

Another item on his “to do” list is the quest to honor the pledge to cut online piracy by 70%. A deal between Internet service providers and media companies on the sanctions to be placed on repeat offenders has yet to be reached.

The Digital Britain initiative was formerly the responsibility of communications minister Stephen Carter, who stepped down last month.

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Biz News from Variety