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Last Updated: Friday, 23 January, 2004, 11:24 GMT
Blair looks to broadband future
Computer user
The government has to plan for those still to plug into broadband
The faster communication offered by broadband will play a key role driving public service reform, Prime Minister Tony Blair has said.

Mr Blair was speaking as he visited the telephone exchange in his Sedgefield constituency in County Durham.

He publicised a scheme to get broadband in every north-east England community.

"By speeding up communication broadband is opening up new opportunities in almost every area of our lives," he said at the exchange in Trimdon.

"It will play a central role in the reform of our public services, improving our competitiveness and building a modern, digitally connected Britain."

High-speed links

Regional development agency One NorthEast has put 4.7m into a 10m project to upgrade the area's 87 telephone exchanges so all of them have broadband by spring next year.

That would make the North East the only region outside London where all exchanges can use broadband.

The move could allow 95% of the population to enjoy high-speed internet links.

Mr Blair's visit was part of a tour of his constituency on Friday.

'New goals needed'

It comes after a key advisory group pressed the government to plan for broadband's future and start setting new targets.

In its annual report, the Broadband Stakeholders Group (BSG), said the UK was on target to give every community broadband access by 2005.

But the government needs to think about its visions for next generation broadband, and set its goals for 2010, it said.

Ministers have promised to make the UK the most competitive broadband market among the G7 countries.




SEE ALSO:
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Broadband looks to up its appeal
12 Sep 03  |  Technology


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