Merseyside bids in £7 million ‘digital challenge’

A radical scheme to provide every home in Merseyside with fast internet for £100 per connection is to be submitted to government. The five Merseyside councils, lead by Halton Council, have partnered with Liverpool University and the Greater Merseyside Digital Development Agency as part of the Digital Challenge, worth a potential £7 million. Brian McCaul, business development manager for Liverpool University's AIMES Centre (Advanced Internet Methods and Emergent Systems) is reported as saying:"The idea is about making computing a fifth utility that people use without being too worried about the cost. No one worries about turning on the light or using the toaster and that is what we want for computing." Under the scheme, potential users would not need to download any software, upgrades or antivirus programmes as all this would be done centrally. Initial bids have to be made by April 28th and compete with other entrants from around the country. Those accepted in the first round will be given funding with the winning bid set to be announced in January 2007. It is hoped a winning bid would mark major progress in the shift of Merseyside's economy to a more service-based, knowledge economy.   


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