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First it was Live Aid -- now brace yourself for NetAid. Top artists including Bush, The Corrs and Robbie Williams will join rock legends Jimmy Page and Pete Townsend to take part in a global gig broadcast simultaneously over the Web, TV and radio. Cisco and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are behind the monster rave which has been launched to raise cash to combat the growing problem of extreme poverty in the world. Three concerts in London, New York and Geneva will overlap to create one long mega gig on 9 October. The entire programme will be Webcast live on two channels -- one carrying the concert, the other showing what's happening backstage with the stars. Organisers claim NetAid will draw the largest audience ever for a live music event. "NetAid is a new Internet model for social change that will combine cutting edge technology with the world's best artistic talent and poverty-fighting expertise," said Chris Dedicoat, MD of Cisco's UK and Ireland operations. "Just as the Internet has revolutionised business, the Internet can help lift the hopes of communities in need by bringing ideas, people and resources together in ways never thought possible. "NetAid will use the largest scale Internet technology ever deployed to tackle one of the world’s largest problems," he said. The NetAid site will be launched on 8 September, and will have the capacity to handle 125,000 simultaneous live streams, 10 times more than any other site. It will also be able to handle 60 million hits per hour -- ten times more than the peak for the last Olympics and the soccer World Cup in France. Ex-Boomtown Rat Sir Bob Geldof, who was so instrumental in the organisation of Live Aid in 1985, is not involved in this project, yet his sentiments about fund raising are just as valid today as they were then. "Just give us you fucking money, will ya," he said famously during Live Aid. No doubt the organisers of NetAid will wish the same, if not quite so eloquently. ®

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