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Call for task force

The House of Lords' Select Committee on Science and Technology wants the Government to plan for a technology-led revolution with massive ramifications. Its report, The Information Society: Agenda for Action in the UK, calls for a major development of technological infrastructure for universal access.

At the moment, Britain doesn't look bad compared to other countries in the new technology league tables, says the report. Thanks to deregulation of the telecommunications industry, development of the infrastructure, in particular by the cable industry, is going ahead.

As consumers, we have enthusiastically bitten the bullet. There are about 120 Internet service providers - more per head than either France or Germany. As of last February, the report claims, more than 1,000,000 UK homes and businesses were connected to high-speed networks, as were 500 schools.

One of the report's recommendation stresses the need for all teacher training courses to contain a mandatory IT module and says the Government should support the development of aids for in-service training in IT. But the report's most significant recommendation is the establishment of an Information Society Task Force, similar to the US model, by the end of this year. Its primary function would be as an independent think-tank devoted to "the UK information society".

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