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Govt ‘puzzled’ by broadband debate

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The government has admitted that the "path to broadband" has not been smooth but maintains competition and not intervention will ultimately solve the current teething troubles.

Writing in the FT yesterday, the Minister for Textiles and part-time E-minister Patricia Hewitt, and E-Envoy, Andrew Pinder, presented a united front on the vexed issue of broadband.

Penning their own article, they ruled-out favouring one technology over another and maintained that it was simply a matter of time before competition kicked in and started meeting consumer demand for broadband.

Although they advocated a hands-off approach they did say that they would continue to monitor the situation.

They wrote: "We have been listening to the debate about the roll out of broadband internet access in Britain with increasing puzzlement.

"We are the first to admit that the path to broadband internet access has not so far been smooth, but things are improving. The roll-out of asymmetric digital subscriber lines...is picking up pace. Wholesale competition is emerging and there will be more as this is extended to the 'local loop' between telephone exchanges and people's homes. However, competitive markets do not materialise overnight.

"We should not allow teething problems with ADSL to cloud our judgement about the right course of development and confuse the role of government, namely as a market enabler," they said.

If only we shared their confidence. ®

SURVEY - CREATIVE BUSINESS: Roll out of broadband internet access - the FT

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