A familiar name which many may recognise as the producer behind major film titles including the 1981 Chariots of Fire (for which he won an Oscar for Best Picture) and the 1976 Bugsy Malone, Lord David Puttnam has recently expanded his role to add the title of Ireland’s Digital Champion to his record – but what exactly does it mean?
Championing the cause
The role of a Digital Champion is one which focuses on expanding current provisions to ensure technological services are used in the best way for the benefit of all citizens. Puttnam commented on his thrill at being named Ireland’s representative, claiming it isn’t vastly different from some of his previous roles.
Looking at ways in which digital developments can be extended to aid various demographics – fulfilling the educational needs of young children to catering to the social demands of elderly care provisions – Digital Champions have been appointed by all EU States as a direct request of the European Union.
One of the biggest focuses within Ireland’s digital plan is that of extending broadband services. Whilst more than 50% of homes have access to broadband, there are still concerns that rural areas are being left behind.
In the educational field, a desire to enhance e-learning possibilities has led to an ambitious plan to provide every secondary school in the country with broadband capable of speeds of 100MBps. Approximately half the schools have received the treatment thus far with the proposed deadline for completion of the entire rollout set for the end of 2014.
Naturally, Ireland broadband providers are playing a major part in this development and as Ireland’s Digital Champion Puttnam will need to recognise the importance of such services – begging the question whether he is up for the challenge?
Is he right for the role?
With a seat in the House of Lords, Puttnam has plenty of experience when it comes to fulfilling an advisory role within the digital sphere. He was consulted on digital policy by the last UK labour government and sends weekly educational broadcasts to Australia and Singapore; providing clear evidence that he practices exactly what he preaches.
Currently living in Skibbereen, Cork, Puttnam’s role as Ireland’s Digital Champion will mean he will become responsible for encouraging the state to adopt policies that focus on the progressive advancements of technology within society, business and education. We can’t wait to see what he manages to achieve.