18 July 2002 | Robin Parker
Government procurement advisers have launched an initiative to help public-sector purchasers deal with suppliers of high-speed Internet services.
The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) and the Department of Trade and Industry have jointly developed contracts to speed up the use of broadband technology across the public sector and its private-sector suppliers.
The framework agreements aim to enable organisations to buy the technology directly from suppliers without negotiating terms and conditions for each purchase.
The initiative builds on the OGC's broadband procurement feasibility study, which called for full competition and customer choice of broadband.
The move aims to speed up online transactions with suppliers through faster Internet links.
Stephen Timms, e-commerce minister, is also considering a Department of Trade and Industry proposal to set up a procurement portal to help small businesses link to the public sector via broadband.
The OGC will pool members of its IT teams with experience of buying broadband into a dedicated team to offer more structured support in the autumn.
The unit will oversee regional teams to help spread the take-up by businesses in more rural areas.
• The Welsh Assembly is to invest £100 million of public money in broadband access for 310,000 houses and 67,000 businesses, including 30 small business support centres.