Treasury Minister Stephen Timms is tipped to become the new Communications Minister, following the resignation of Digital Britain report author Stephen Carter last month.
Timms is to sit jointly across the Department for Business and the Treasury, whereas Carter’s position sat jointly across the Department for Business and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The Government is yet to make an official announcement.
Timms is said to bring significant experience to the role, being a former technology analyst and Minister of State for Competitiveness and Communications until 2008. He was named an ‘Internet Hero’ finalist at the Internet Service Provider Association awards last year for “leading the push to increase internet access speeds and paving the way for services such as high-definition internet TV.”
His main task will be to push through plans for a £6 yearly levy on all fixed lines to pay for next generation broadband networks and bring a Digital Economy Bill, to implement the conclusions of the Digital Britain report, before parliament later this year. He will also have to resolve issues surrounding mobile spectrum allocation.
Timm’s appointment comes amid fears from the industry that movement on Digital Britain commitments would stall following Carter’s departure. It has been reported that the independent body meant to be established last month to ensure that fast broadband is available to all by 2012 was meant to be set up last month, but will not have a head until October.