Government should facilitate affordable, accessible and reliable broadband coverage in the UK by 2012, according to a report published today by the Academy. The report also recommends widespread exploitation of cloud computing and collaborative web-based capabilities by UK businesses. It calls for more emphasis on complex integrated IT systems in Information Communications Technology (ICT) teaching and a drive to encourage more young people into the IT industry.

ICT for the UK’s Future: The implications of the changing nature of Information Communications Technology looks at the importance of the IT base for the prosperity and diversity of the UK economy and how the UK can exploit the potential of ICT to transform both public and private enterprise. It also highlights the need for the UK to invest in the growing information economy, including enhancing the UK’s IT infrastructure and recognising and addressing critical gaps in IT capability at all levels of society.

The report was launched today at Aston University and was attended by local business organisations, IT specialists, and telecoms analysts.

Professor Jim Norton, a member of the report study group, comments, “A pervasive broadband infrastructure is a prerequisite for a modern knowledge-based economy. This report describes how the gaps in our broadband coverage could be filled cost-effectively, by building on the UK’s proud history of leadership in disruptive mobile communications technology.”

Participants at the launch event highlighted the still low adoption of ICT solutions in the West Midlands and called on the SME community to take steps to use software and cloud computing to gain competitive advantage ahead of the rest of the UK. It was pointed out that a key driver to increasing the penetration of ICT services in SMEs was to show the strategic possibilities of using IT systems to solve day to day business problems

Forty years after Nobel Prize winner Charles Kao CBE FREng FRS initiated the development of optical fibre communication, enabling the UK to pioneer the development of high-capacity data transmission, a comprehensive broadband infrastructure is still not available across the whole country.

Download ICT for the UK’s Future (990.17 KB)

Notes for editors

  1. Founded in 1976, The Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Our fellowship – comprising the UK’s most eminent engineers – provides the leadership and expertise for our activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, we provide independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain’s engineering community.

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or to receive a copy of the report please contact: Tonia Page, tel. 07770 845984