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OFT waves through UK.gov's national addressing database

Joint effort with Ordnance Survey gets 'all clear'

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The government's national addressing database venture with the Ordnance Survey was cleared by the Office of Fair Trading today.

GeoPlace was created last December as a joint undertaking between local government and the OS agency to amalgamate addresses into a single register for use by public sector workers and private businesses.

The OFT confirmed this afternoon that it would not be referring the National Address Gazetteer to the Competition Commission.

Under the plan, GeoPlace will scoop up National Land and Property Gazetteer-maintained Intelligent Addressing, and is expected to be operational from April this year.

"Comprehensive and accurate spatial addressing information is important in delivering frontline public services, as well as for certain private sector customers, so any competition concerns resulting from the joint venture needed careful consideration," said OFT chief economist Amelia Fletcher.

"A merger to monopoly would normally warrant further investigation. However, the government's buying power, combined with expected benefits from combining these two databases, made a reference to the Competition Commission disproportionate."

Part of the reason the OFT decided not to refer the market to competition regulators was down to the fact that nearly all customers, both public and private, supported the creation of the new database, it said. ®

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