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UK minister claims cheapest access in world

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WCIT 2000 The minister for small business and e-commerce, Patricia Hewitt, took the podium here in Taipei today, to outline New Labour's stance on e-commerce.

She kicked off by congratulating the Taiwanese on the event, and said that UK folk enjoyed the cheapest of all Internet access in Western Europe. Hey, you and I know the truth of that, but that's what she said.

Hewitt said that the UK had the most ambitious programme of any country related to the Internet, but quipped: "Of course, it's under construction." She compared the 40s to the 90s. Blair had decided last year it was high time he had decided to learn about the Intranet, so had joined up with a local library in Geordieland.

Blair realised one of his constituents looked a little uncomfortable, and turned to the Geordie asking him whether he was uncomfortable sitting next to the PM. "Wae no," said the Geordie, "it's just that I've watched you for the last time and I've been doing my exercises, but I've noticed you haven't." This is a New Labour joke.

Hewitt said she was confident that the UK would be well ahead of the pack in the digital phone market, and would also be well ahead on Web TV. By 2005, all government services will be online. Mind you, that's what the last government (Old Tory) said would happen by next year.

We are now the cheapest place in the world for Internet access, claimed Hewitt, rather wildly, in our humble experience. The UK government has set a target of 1.5 billion sterling using the power of the Wibbly Wobbly Web.

The UK has the first on-line Web Inland Revenue system in the world, she thought. Funny that, we thought EDS in the US had all of our tax information... ®

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