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Broadband funding announced – again

New e-commerce minister, same speech

In yet another bid to promote and encourage the use of broadband services, newly appointed e-commerce minister Douglas Alexander (pictured) yesterday announced a £30m funding package to "boost the delivery of fast internet services through broadband technology to all parts of the UK".

But all is not what it seems. Yesterday's press statement read, to us, exactly the same as one released back in February by Patricia Hewitt when she was e-commerce minister.

So had the government made this announcement twice, or had a total of £60m in fact been invested?

Predictably, the former proved to be the case. The DTI admitted this was the same £30m alluded to earlier in the year, and therefore acknowledged that, since February, nothing had been done with the money.

"The new e-commerce minister has taken over the fund and is planning new promotional incentives," said a DTI spokesman.

It seems the project's 'relaunch' is being used as a promotional package for Douglas Alexander, whose declaration yesterday that "today's announcement marks the latest step as government, along with industry, face the challenge of building a broadband Britain", now looks slightly ridiculous.

The UK currently has over 160,000 broadband users with over 13 million homes connected to a BT broadband-enabled exchange.

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