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More than £9 million is being pumped into the North East of England to wire up all the exchanges for broadband.

BT will use its own dosh to fund the conversion of 24 exchanges to ADSL as part of its successful pre-registration scheme. A further 87 exchanges will be wired up to broadband using £4.7 million from the local regional development agency (RDA).

The announcement by RDA One NorthEast that BT is to ensure that every exchange in the region gets broadband by March 2005 coincided with a visit by PM, Tony Blair, to see his own local exchange being upgraded for ADSL.

Said the PM: "Information technology is transforming our world and broadband is at the forefront of this revolution. By speeding up communication, broadband is opening up new opportunities in almost every area of our lives."

Yesterday, BT announced that Needham Market in Suffolk has become the 1,000th exchange to be converted to ADSL as part of BT's broadband registration scheme.

The monster telco reckoned it was a "great day for everyone involved with the registration scheme", an initiative that enables exchanges to be converted to ADSL once a set number of people register their interest in broadband. ®

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