Gov't names ministers for broadband, digital economy

Jeremy Hunt will oversee the UK's fibre rollout, while Ed Vaizey has been put in charge of implementing the Digital Economy Act
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

The coalition government has put Jeremy Hunt in charge of the UK's broadband and Ed Vaizey in charge of implementing the Digital Economy Act.

Hunt, the Conservative secretary of state for culture, Olympics, media and sport, will oversee the rollout of high-speed broadband across the UK, the government said on Wednesday night.

Parliamentary under-secretary of state Ed Vaizey, also a Tory, will work across two departments — the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). Lord Carter straddled the two department in much the same way while drawing up the Digital Britain report.

Vaizey will be responsible for implementing the copyright crackdown that is enabled by the Digital Economy Act, which is the policy descendent of the Digital Britain report. It is not yet clear whether the Liberal Democrats' opposition to elements of the act, such as its website-blocking provisions, will bleed through into official government policy.

The Digital Economy Act was rushed into law in the 'wash-up' period just before the general election. At the then-Digital Economy Bill's second reading, Hunt called the bill "weak, dithering and incompetent" and said the Conservatives would review the act "if it turns out that the legislation is flawed". Both Hunt and Vaizey voted for the bill to become law.

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