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“Disjointed” IT could delay recovery, says CMA

We need working broadband and 3G to get out of the recession, communications managers have warned

A lack of clear IT policy could severely impact the UK’s ability to recover from the current recession according the Communications Management Association (CMA).

The industry group, now part of the British Computer Society, made the comments as part of a manifesto, described as “an action plan aimed at helping the UK out f the recession”.

Speaking at the group’s annual conference this week, CMA chairman, Carolyn Kimber, said that the UK government must improve its approach to IT procurement and deployment or risk lagging behind other developed countries. “ICT policy-making is spread between many departments. Worse than that – it lacks continuity and stability in ministerial appointments,” she said.

The action points identified by the CMA include developing a more coherent approach to IT policy across government, and improving mobile and broadband coverage across the country.

“CMA is disappointed that today’s broadband is still not the major life-changing experience that Lord Currie envisaged several years ago. We need to take action now to introduce true broadband access across the country,” the manifesto states.

On the issue of mobile coverage, the CMA claims that 3G operators have failed to deliver on the service provision included as part of the auction process. “3G operators have not met their coverage requirements imposed as part of the auction process,” the manifesto states. “Only national roaming of basic services will result in 95 per cent UK-wide geographical coverage as well as leading to increased rather than the reduced competition which Ofcom has suggested.”

Commenting on the recent Interim ‘Digital Britain’ Report, Kimber added “it is a long-delayed step in the right direction and implementation of its access and infrastructure proposals deserves unqualified, all-party support.”

Kimber also cited US President Obama’s calls for “the digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together” claiming that UK politicians should similarly recognise the importance of communications and IT infrastructure to economic development.

The publication of the CMA’s manifesto echoes similar calls from UN agency the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) last week. “Having contributed consistently as a high-growth sector in its own right, ICT can now power economic recovery across all sectors,” said ITU secretary-general Dr Hamadoun Touré.

Read eWEEK Europe’s exclusive interview with Dr Touré.