By May 22, 2015EU insight

By the London Technology team

Vodafone in potential merger as BT seek EE takeover fast-track

The CEO of Liberty Global caused a stir by suggesting that Liberty could merge with Vodafone.  Liberty already own Virgin Media and purchasing one of the three remaining mobile network operators could see more telco consolidation as firms move to offer ‘quad play’ (broadband, home phone, mobile and TV) services. 

The rumours come in a week where BT formally requested that the Competition and Markets Authority fast-tracked their takeover of EE, which would give BT the biggest fixed and biggest mobile network in the UK. Reuters carried the Liberty Global and Vodafone story whilst The Guardian wrote about BT.

O ye of little faith

Civil servants have little confidence that Whitehall IT teams can digitise and transform the way government works, according to a report by Eduserv, a not-for-profit organisation and registered charity which provides IT services to the public sector.

87% of senior decision makers working in central government want IT to improve service delivery but only 35% are confident IT will deliver that. Additionally, most decision makers also lack confidence that their key priorities for IT will be supported by sufficient investment. The digitisation of public services will be a key issue this Parliament, as the Government seeks to find further savings in already stretched departmental budgets. The Home Secretary Theresa May has already told the Police Federation that “significant efficiencies” will have to be found in policing budgets and will partly be achieved by improved IT and collaborative working.

You can find excellent summaries of the report by Computing and ITPRO.

The internet and the 2015 General Election

Writing for the Hansard Society’s excellent ‘Britain Votes 2015’ series, Dr Andy Williamson’s article examined the role of social media in the election. Williamson spoke on the same topic at Nominet’s Internet Policy Forum this week, arguing that whilst digital did not win the election, it did shape the campaign. He pointed to the volume of social media activity, referencing the Demos statistic that the #GE2015 hashtag was mentioned over 265,000 times by 9pm on polling day, yet argued that social media served more like an echo chamber than a debating forum.

@Andy_Williamson also praised social media’s ability to boost online voter registration efforts and inform people about the parties’ respective policy positions via vote-matching applications. In conclusion, Williamson said, “the use of the internet in elections is still relatively new, unregulated and too uncritically accepted”.