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Broadband Stakeholder Group

Volume 401: debated on Thursday 20 March 2003

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The Minister for E-Commerce and Competitiveness (Mr. Stephen Timms): The Government is today publishing its response to the Broadband Stakeholder Group Second Annual Report and Strategic Recommendations at I have also placed copies of the response in the Libraries of the House. The Broadband Stakeholder Group made fifteen recommendations to the Government for the development of its broadband strategy; the Government broadly accepted all of them.

The Government response sets out its broadband strategy and features information on many of the projects and initiatives underway throughout the English regions and Devolved Administrations.

In particular, the response highlights the importance of aggregation of public sector demand for broadband in the Government's strategy for broadband roll-out. The pace of aggregation is growing. The recently established UK Broadband Task Force, which is taking forward our work on aggregation, is tasked to create regional structures, which will carry out the aggregation of public sector demand. The Government will ask the Regional Development Agencies to play a major role in the creation and implementation of these regional structures as part of their responsibility for regional economic development and infrastructure.

The UK Broadband Task Force is now discussing with central Government departments the inclusion of their connectivity requirements in its new remit. Through this work we will ensure that the new investment in broadband infrastructure necessary to meet specific public sector needs also results in wider broadband availability for businesses and households in rural and remote areas.