The government has taken the next step in its initiative to achieve 100% broadband availability across the UK by the end of 2005, with the award of 17 framework agreements for the provision of broadband services to the public sector.
The framework agreements have been made under the Broadband Aggregation Project, which brings together the broadband requirements and purchasing power of the NHS, schools, post offices and other public sector services.
UK e-commerce minister Stephen Timms said, “By pooling the broadband needs and finances of the public sector we are making the provision of services far cheaper for the purchasers and far more attractive for the service providers - as seen by the number of contract bidders and winners.
“Pooling public sector broadband purchasing also ensures that more rural areas, previously seen as too remote or uneconomic for the infrastructure, will now have access to the social and business benefits of broadband technology.”
The Framework Agreement covers the provision of broadband communication, networking, high bandwidth connectivity and related services to all areas of the public sector throughout the UK.
Nine regional aggregation bodies and one national aggregation body have been established in the English administrative regions. They will each aggregate public sector broadband demand in their respective regions and then take that demand to the service providers.
The regional aggregation bodies (known as Adits) have already been working with their first clients, the NHS and Department for Education and Skills, to procure the connectivity for the rollout of the NHS N3 network and to ensure broadband connectivity to all schools by 2006.
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