9th January 2013
Superfast and Furious
By Graham Walker, Go ON UK CEO
Hello and Happy New Year!
I've been the new CEO of Go ON UK for over a week now, so it feels like time for a first blog.
My 2013 had a great start when the the Superfast and the Furious, a new report by Policy Exchange, landed. Most of you will know that the Government is committed to ensuring that the UK has the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015 . What's interesting about the Policy Exchange report – and hopefully it's a tipping point in UK public policy – is that they recommend reconsidering focus on the need for broadband speed over universal access, and an end to broadband infrastructure subsidies once current commitments cease. They suggest that the priorities for future investment should be helping the 10.8 million people in the UK not online, and to help small businesses make the most of the vast opportunities offered by the web. This is music to my ears given that Go ON UK was set up a year ago to build a national cross sector digital skills alliance with precisely these aims.
We want top notch broadband infrastructure and digital services in the UK, but we are missing a huge opportunity while 10.8million people don’t use them and only 14% of SMEs sell products and services online.
Alongside current government investments to achieve universal broadband connectivity, we now need greater investment in digital skills for late adopters. The Government is making great strides on broadband infrastructure and on digital public services (led by GDS), so I am hoping that 2013 is the year Government will work with Go ON UK and the national digital skills alliance we are leading to close the digital gap. Add to that the potential of smartphones and tablets to revolutionise how easy it is for people to get started online makes 2013 an exciting prospect.
I'm lucky to be taking over the leadership of Go ON UK when such good foundations have been laid. 2012 was one hell of a year. We defined 'Basic Online Skills', published the economic case for digitisation with Booz & Company, and brought together eight fantastic Founders who’re using their national networks and expertise to build online skills in their organisations, services, and the wider community. They’ve signed the UK’s first Digital Skills Charter, and it’s something that any organisation can do too.
Our aim at Go ON UK is to make the UK the world's most digitally skilled nation. We might not be there yet, but we can claim to be the world's biggest internet shoppers!?