Report: Timms to take over Digital Britain helm

Stephen Timms will take over responsibility for the implementation of the government's Digital Britain plan, according to a report in The Guardian

Junior minister Stephen Timms is set to assume responsibility for implementing the Digital Britain plan, according to a report in The Guardian.

Timms, currently financial secretary to the Treasury, will replace Stephen Carter as communications minister, the newspaper said on Monday. According to the report, Timms will work across the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Treasury.

Reports of Lord Carter's departure emerged just prior to the release of his Digital Britain report, a blueprint for the UK's digital development over the next five years or so.

Digital Britain came out in mid-June, notably calling for a 50p monthly charge to be levied on each copper fixed line. This 'phone tax', as Carphone Warehouse has described it, is intended to create a centralised fund for subsidising the rollout of fibre-based, next-generation broadband across most of the country. The levy will, however, require new legislation, and it will be the task of Carter's successor to push that through parliament.

The report also called for a 2Mbps universal minimum broadband speed to be implemented across the UK, although this is intended to be funded by money left over from the analogue-to-digital switchover.

Carter's successor will also oversee implementation of Digital Britain's recommendations regarding file-sharing and ICT training.

ZDNet UK asked BIS on Tuesday whether Timms would indeed be Carter's successor, but was told that the replacement was "just speculation at this stage". Carter stepped down at the beginning of the parliamentary recess on 21 July, BIS said.


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