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The UK Government has finally begun its search for broadband providers prepared to supply services to the public sector.

The Office of Government Commerce (OGC), responsible for procurement, has placed an advert in the Official Journal of the European Communities looking for potential partners.

The OGC claims this "signals the first step in the letting of framework agreements, which will enable buyers to obtain the best value for money when purchasing Broadband Internet services".

Indeed, the idea of aggregating public sector demand for broadband is something the Government has been keen to promote for some time.

The theory behind it is simple enough; the public sector could provide a massive market for broadband providers prepared to supply schools, hospitals, local government offices and agencies etc.

Of course, not all its schools, GP surgeries, etc are within cable and ADSL-enabled areas.

So, if enough demand is whipped up for broadband - especially in these areas currently not served by cable or ADSL - then this aggregated demand might just be enough to entice providers to invest in the roll-out of this technology.

At the same time the public sector - with its massive buying power - hopefully gets broadband services at more competitive rates.

And on the back of this increased availability, more consumers and businesses would then be able to sign up to broadband.

So when will we start to see some results?

A spokesman for the OCG said he'd get back to us on that one. ®

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