Minister for culture, communications and creative industry Ed Vaizey will take charge of the Government’s Digital Britain agenda, indirectly replacing former telecoms minister Stephen Timms.
Vaizey, who sits both under the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) is likely to be responsible for the Government’s spectrum auction as well as the roll out of next generation broadband.
His remit spans arts, media, museums and galleries, telecoms and broadband, digital switchover, creative industries and libraries.
In April, Mobile revealed that plans for a 2011 spectrum auction had been thrown into disarray after the Labour Government failed to push through crucial legislation before the general election.
The Statutory Instrument (SI) for spectrum liberalisation, which had been making its way through Parliament alongside the Digital Economy Bill, was put back until the new Government came in this month.
The timescale for an auction of spectrum, which would include the band that becomes available when analogue TV is switched off, is now dependent on the new Government making a quick decision.
The new Government may even scrap the Digital Britain proposals altogether, sources close to the matter said.
The Conservative Party spokeswoman said prior to the election: ‘We opposed the SI that was supposed to pass this because we thought that it needed looking at in more detail and shouldn’t be rushed through. If we get into Government we will look at it again.’
The spectrum auction is set for the first half of 2011. Sources said the date is ‘realistic if the directive is made fairly soon’, but ‘every month that goes by could delay it’.