Ed Vaizey to Chair Digital Infrastructure
Ed Vaizey, Digital Economy Minister, will take charge of a Digital Infrastructure Taskforce, focused on broadband, mobile and the digital economy.
The minister for culture and the digital economy is to chair a new Digital Infrastructure Implementation taskforce to be set up by the government, with a remit to drive the rollout of universal broadband and better mobile phone connections and ensure everyone is able to be part of the digital economy.
During the first half of the new parliament, broadband rollout will be high on the government's agenda because fewer than three years now remain until the original Broadband Delivery UK target of having 95% of UK premises connected to superfast broadband must be met.
At the end of 2014, the government secured a £5bn spending commitment from the UK's four mobile operator networks to address coverage gaps, extending reliable voice and SMS coverage to 90% of the country's landmass by 2017.
The Digital Infrastructure Taskforce is just one of a number of taskforces set up following the general election - with the intention of monitoring and driving delivery of the government's "most important cross-cutting priorities".
Other taskforces will look at housing, health and social care, apprenticeships and training, immigration, childcare, religious extremism, troubled families, exports and Syrian refugees.
These taskforces are designed to bring together key ministers and officials for regular meetings to track progress in addressing the government's aims. It is also designed to look out for potential problems and agree plans to resolve them by maintaining momentum, ensuring that accountability and policy actions are followed through.
Secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs Liz Truss will also be sitting on the Digital Infrastructure Taskforce as well as chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Oliver Letwin, chief secretary to the Treasury Greg Hands, minister for the Cabinet Office and paymaster general Matt Hancock, minister for communities and local government.
A spokesperson for DCMS confirmed that Vaizey will "remain a joint minister", split between the Department for Business Innovation and Skills and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, reporting into both secretary of state for culture, media and sport John Wittingdale and secretary of state of business, innovation and skills Sajid Javid.
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