Broadband is key to e-government

Local government IT managers have highlighted the importance of broadband technology in councils' drive to deliver e-learning...

Local government IT managers have highlighted the importance of broadband technology in councils' drive to deliver e-learning materials and a new range of electronic services to citizens.

An IT manager in a northwest England council said, "We need broadband connections to carry the new electronic services that the public will use: for example, multimedia materials and videoconferencing."

A recent report from the local authority IT directors group the Society of IT Management (Socitm) found that delivering services such as the National Grid for Learning and the People's Network is a key driver for the councils using broadband.

The technology will also be key to helping councils to meet the Government's 2005 deadline for making services available electronically, said Socitm.

Martin Greenwood, who manages the society's Insight Programme, said, "All of the e-government agenda depends on having broadband available to make it viable."

The research, which was commissioned by the Department of Trade & Industry, found that 93% of smaller district councils cited e-government services as the most important factor in requiring broadband.

The study, which is based on responses from 167 of 409 local authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, found that 80% of the larger councils are committed to a strategic approach to broadband across all networks by September 2004.

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