Two regional broadband bodies fold
Overtaken by events
Two of the Government's regional bodies for aggregating public sector demand for broadband have confirmed that they have shut down.
Adit is the Government's operating name for its regional aggregation bodies (RABs). They were set up a year ago to pool public sector demand for broadband to help entice operators to invest in areas not served by high speed internet services.
On the Adit website, Tony Blair proclaims; "We spend millions every year on IT and communications. It is clear that if we can manage our role as purchaser better we can both improve value for money and have a significant impact on the availability of broadband."
But the scheme was thought up at a time when supply was limited. Since then, the speed of roll-out since has far outpaced Government thinking.
On Monday, the Government confirmed that its central umbrella Adit - charged with aggregating public sector demand for broadband - would also be closing at the end of the year. Now, two regional Adits - in the South West and North West of England - have confirmed that they are closing.
Said the South West Regional Development Agency (RDA) in a statement: "The South West Regional Aggregation Body (RAB) was set up by the South West RDA and the Department for Trade and Industry (DTI) 12 months ago to promote wider broadband availability and also to demonstrate how public sector bodies could secure significant savings when buying broadband internet services by working together.
"Latest figures show that, by the summer of 2005, nearly all people, communities and businesses in the South West will have access to broadband services. This is a great improvement over the position in September 2003 when the RAB was launched. With widespread availability now achieved, along with increased public-sector take-up, the RAB will be withdrawing from the promotion of public sector aggregation."
The North West Regional Development Agency (NWDA) said: "Unfortunately the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) has made the decision to close the Northwest Regional Broadband Aggregation Programme. This is because the core business originally envisaged from the National Health Service and the Department for Education and Skills has not materialised."
No one at the NWDA was available at the time of writing to explain why - when Adits were established by Government to aggregate public sector demand - it could not secure "core business" from the NHS or education departments.
Despite speculation about the future of Adit in the South East of England, a spokesman for the RDA insisted that it had not closed down.
"The South East Regional Aggregation Body (RAB) or Adit, will NOT be closing down. However, with its primary objectives now achieved, it will be cutting back its operations in line with the changes experienced in the broadband market."
No one was available to shed any more light on the enxtent to which the operation will be "cut back".
Elsewhere, Adit in the North East of England has confirmed it will still be operating, although doubts remain about the future of Adit in Yorkshire. ®