When IT Meets Politics

Apr 23 2010   7:25PM GMT

Will Google do what Government will not? – Utopia

Philip Virgo Profile: Philip Virgo


The Convergence Conversation has just sent me a splendid clip in which the Mayors of the communities that have come together in the UTOPIA consortium (in Utah) ask Google to use them for one of its pilots. There is actually a pair of clips. The second summarises what the communities have already done to clear the obstacles to roll out. 

It is a splendid example of the type of local municipal enterprise which created most of Britain’s original gas, water, electricity and telephone infrastructures – before power and esponsibility were transferred to the planning and control silos of Whitehall, the brain child of Lloyd George, launched in 1917, completed in the late 1940s.   

If one size does not fit all. But is such a call from a group of communities, clearly intent on leading the way, evidence that true leadership comes from below or that power has passed to the global players.

Either way, why not ask your local parliamentary candidates whether they believe central government (Whitehall, Ofcom etc.) should lead on Broadband or pass the torch to Local Government should?  

P.S. When we hear statements that that the Scandinavian nations are leading the way into the digital age and we need to at least match them, it is as well to remember that Yorkshire has a larger population than any of them, except Sweden. And the common driving force behind their infrastucture investments is a mix of municipal entreprise and public-private co-operatives. There are many more types of player in an open market other than nationalised industries, multinationals, PLCs and SMEs.  


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