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Gov UK names broadband aggregation bidders

Seventeen in the running

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The UK Government has named 17 companies that will be able to bid for public sector contracts for broadband.

This is the latest stage in the Government's broadband aggregation project to pool £1bn of public sector spending on high-speed Internet services.

The 17 winners are BT: Cable & Wireless; Colt; Easynet; Energis; Equinox; Kingston Communications; Logicalis; MLL; Neos Networks (SSET); Networks by Wireless; NTL; Research Machines; Synetrix; Telewest Communications; Thus; and, Your Communications.

Nine regional abodies and one nationalbody have been created to aggregate public sector broadband demand. Set up in partnership with Regional Development Authorities (RDAs), they are responsible for buying broadband services for public sector organisations while cutting costs for the public sector.

It will be the job of the aggregation boards to pool individual public sector broadband requirements (from individual schools, GP surgeries etc.) and present them as one bigger package to the market.

Said e-minister Stephen Timms: "By pooling the broadband needs and finances of the public sector we are making the provision of services far cheaper for the purchasers and far more attractive for the service providers - as seen by the number of contract bidders and winners.

"Pooling public sector broadband purchasing also ensures that more rural areas, previously seen as too remote or uneconomic for the infrastructure, will now have access to the social and business benefits of broadband technology."

Although this was a Government announcement, Energis chief exec John Pluthero couldn't resist using it to have a dig at the lack of wholesale competition on the UK.

"The competitive manner in which these public service broadband contracts will be awarded by the Government can only be good news for the taxpayer. If only Ofcom would rule for the same level of competition in the residential wholesale broadband market, consumers would also be better off." ®

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