Tony Blair has completed his reshuffle. ePolitix.com gives you all the ministerial moves.
In: Former health secretary Alan Milburn becomes chancellor at the Duchy of Lancaster – chairing the election campaign group, taking a government place on the Labour executive and overseeing the work of the Number 10 policy unit.
Out: Andrew Smith – resigned as work and pensions secretary.
In: Rising star Alan Johnson becomes work and pensions secretary.
Moved: Kim Howells leaves transport to become further and higher education minister.
Up: Transport minister Tony McNulty promoted to minister of state.
Up: Junior whip Charlotte Atkins becomes transport under secretary.
Up: Tom Watson becomes an unpaid assistant government whip.
Moved: Ruth Kelly becomes minister for the Cabinet Office, working with Alan Milburn in his policy capacity.
Moved: Energy minister Stephen Timms replaces her as financial secretary to the Treasury.
Moved: Mike O’Brien takes the energy portfolio at the DTI, where he also oversees e-commerce and competitiveness.
Moved: Cabinet Office minister Douglas Alexander replaces O’Brien to become joint minister of state for trade and the Foreign Office.
Moved: Junior education minister Baroness Ashton and constitutional affairs minister Lord Filkin swap roles.
A million more homes and businesses in the UK are to be in reach of broadband through phone lines after BT said it was scrapping exchange distance limits.bsg
From 6 September, anyone living more than 6km from an ADSL (Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line) exchange will be able to get a 512Kbps connection.
This is the first in a series of annual Communications Market reports by Ofcom. The main annual Communications Market publication, which from 2005 will be published in May, will be supplemented by quarterly updates, in October, January and August each year, providing the latest available data on each sector, including:
- size, structure and financing;
- availability, penetration and use of products;
- consumer attitudes and behaviour.
The report highlights developments during 2003 and the start of 2004 across the electronic communications sector in the UK, covering television, radio and telecoms.
UK spectrum management Trading mechanisms, liberalisation of use, access and innovation
“Ofcom has regulatory responsibilities from broadcasting through to telecommunications. The most significant point of common interest is in the key raw material of most modern communications – the invisible but critically important radio spectrum.
Ofcom has today [6 August 2004] published an overview of the steps it intends to take in 2004-05 to introduce greater flexibility and freedom of use to radio spectrum management.”
A Statement on Spectrum Trading
Implementation in 2004 and beyond
“This Statement follows a public consultation by Ofcom and the Radiocommunications Agency on proposals for the introduction of spectrum trading in the United Kingdom. The consultation, which was published in November 2003, explained that the introduction of spectrum trading and liberalisation would help to encourage efficient use of spectrum by enabling it to be transferred to, and used by, the user that values it most.”
This consultation seeks views on a Bill to consolidate the existing legislation on “Wireless Telegraphy”.
There are currently six Acts relating to this subject including the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949. Replacing the existing legislation with a single Act will make the legislation much easier for all users of radio spectrum to understand and use. Some legal inconsistencies and problems have been removed from the legislation and the text of the Bill written so that it is easier to understand. A main object of the consolidation Bill is to reproduce the same legal effect as the current legislation. Thus no policy changes to the current legislation have been made.
Specific questions on the Bill are raised in the consultation and general views on the Bill are sought.
Consultation Documents :
Wirelessbillconsultation.doc – Wireless Telegraphy Bill Consultation document
Wirelessbilldraft.pdf – Draft Wireless Telegraphy Bill
Wirelesspre-con.doc – Pre-Consolidation Amendments Order
It has been announced that Keith Todd has been awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, for services to the Telecommunications Industry. This is a well deserved honour and recognition for the tremendous amount of work that Keith has put into driving the Broadband agenda over the last few years.
Keith has been the BSG’s independent Chairman since early 2002. He currently also holds the positions of Executive Chairman of Easynet Group plc, Executive Chairman of FFastFill plc and has his own consultancy Knotty Green Consultants Ltd.
Ofcom’s recent report includes the news that:
- there are now 3.99 million total broadband connections,
- 15% of homes have broadband
- 53% of UK adults have internet access at home, of whom 25% connect to the internet using broadband (from a survey in February 2004),
- 68% of UK SMEs are connected to the internet, of which 37% use broadband as their main connection method.
The DTI State Aid Unit has published a guidance note on State Aid issues related to broadband projects for the RDAs and Devolved Administrations. This paper should be regarded as a work in progress and the DTI would be happy to consider comments. The DTI has pointed out that a further decision on another UK state aid case is expected from the European Commission in the latter half of May and the paper may need to be revised in the light of that decision.
Sean Kenny, Hugh Rawson or Edith Templeton
DTI State Aid Policy Unit Kingsgate House Room 230
66-74 Victoria Street London SW1E 6SW
Tel: 020 7215 8375
Fax: 020 7215 4468