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UK government pledges renewed broadband effort

More cash for broadband push

The government pledged £30m on Tuesday to encourage the roll-out of broadband services across the UK.

E-Minister Patricia Hewitt and e-Envoy Andrew Pinder announced the three-year broadband development fund upon the release of the government report "UK online: the broadband future", which outlines plans for achieving universal internet access by 2005, the government said in a statement.

"The government has not scaled back its financial commitment to broadband or the internet as some media outlets have reported. The £1bn for getting government services online and £30m to encourage the roll-out of broadband services are two separate funds," said a spokeswoman for the office of the e-Envoy.

The government has also created what it calls the Broadband Stakeholder Group, to be chaired by Hewitt, which will be charged with ensuring that a "competitive broadband market becomes a reality", the government said.

The £30m pounds is in addition to the £1bn Prime Minister Tony Blair pledged last September to implement the government's plans to get all government services online by 2005.

A report published in September on electronic government prepared by the Performance and Innovation Unit was confirmed as the blueprint for meeting the government's self-imposed deadline.

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