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Blair's broadband scheme canned

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The Government's broadband plans are in tatters today following the implosion of a key strategy designed to aggregate public sector demand for broadband.

In January, nine regional Government bodies (ADITS) and an umbrella organisation at the Department for Trade and Industry (DTI) began work pooling £1bn of public sector spending on broadband. Less than a year later the central body overseeing the scheme is closing and the regional bodies are also considering their future. A spokesman for the DTI said: "The central team at the DTI will be winding up at the end of the year. This was always anticipated. The scheme has been devolved to the regions - it is a matter for each of them what to do."

But the signs are not good for the Government, which has already wasted £15m on the doomed scheme. According to information received at The Register, the regional aggregation boards are falling like ninepins.

Three regional ADITs have closed, or are in the process of closing. No one from the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA), South West of England Regional Development Agency (SWEEDA) and the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) - which back their regional ADITs - was available for comment at the time of writing.

A spokesman for Yorkshire Forward, the regional development agency (RDA) behind Adit Yorkshire & Humber, could only provide limited support for the scheme. "Yorkshire Forward continues to support it, for the time being," he said.

Critics claim this is yet another IT cock-up by the Government which has spent three years and millions of pounds on a project which always looked destined for the rubbish bin. ®

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