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The Internet World show kicked off in London today
with as much va-va-voom as France's football flops.

The opening keynote speech by Government bigwig
Richard Barrington from the Office of the e-envoy was
poorly attended. Very poorly attended.

Initially, those people entering the conference hall
were told that it would be standing room only. In the
end, we could have each had a row to ourselves.

How times have changed. In years gone by such events
would have had people crammed into auditoria eager –
even hanging out the doors - to hear what the experts
had to say.

Today’s poor attendance, the lacklustre presentation
and the apathy of those who managed to stay the course
and listen could well be seen as symptomatic of the
malaise of the industry.

Early on there were encouraging words that the UK’s
Internet industry might be starting to recover after
the long and painful slump. If this opening
presentation is anything to go by, don’t hold your
breath.

Said Mr Barrington: "[despite the Internet crash] the
Internet is here to stay and is a fundamental part of
the success for UK businesses online."

“This is not a fad - it is here to stay,” he said
later.

And that’s about it – except for half an hour of
relaying all the things the UK Government is doing to
help people, business and Government online with all
the skill of an "aren’t we great" partly political
broadcast.

And broadband?

Oh yes, the Government does have a target for that,
but "that's hardest target to meet which is why I
don't put the figures up too often," he joked. Funny
how no one else was laughing. ®

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