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Slow access turns business off ...
Slow access turns business off

The internet needs to be faster, cheaper and more relevant to the needs of business, says a survey commissioned by Yorkshire Forward.

The development agency's findings were announced at a meeting of the E-Region Forum, a partnership of private, public and voluntary sector bodies.

The responses of a thousand private and public sector organisations showed speed of access was the biggest worry, particularly among smaller firms.

More than a third of regional businesses still do not have internet access, mainly because they do not think the internet is relevant.

But cost of access was another major deterrent to greater use of the internet, particularly in public administration, manufacturing and catering.

Respondents were keen to see more relevant content, with several saying they would like to see a web directory set up for the region.

Broadband link for northwest

Lancashire and Cumbria CCs are connecting all their schools and libraries to a high speed intranet service.

The£1.2m broadband network is jointly funded by central and local government and will be provided by Your Communications.

Initially secondary schools, museums, libraries and community centres will be connected, but this will expand to include primary schools, linking 1,100 schools over the next three years.

The project's technical architect, Lancaster University's Barry Forde, said: 'The total investment by the DfES and the councils will be several million pounds, but the result will deliver educational benefits to around 400,000 students in both counties

The network comprises dual rings around both counties to transmit data and internet traffic at speeds of 155 Mbits per second.

Schools ready to hit targets

Nearly every school in England is connected to the internet, with an average of one computer for every 12 primary pupils, government figures show.

Schools minister Catherine Ashton said primary schools had made excellent progress, with 96% online.

Almost all secondary schools are now online and there is a computer for every 7.1 pupils.

The figures were within reach of government targets, which expects a ratio of one computer per 11 pupils at primary level and one computer per seven secondary pupils to be achieved by the beginning of 2002.

Ms Ashton commented: 'This is directly attributable to the Computers for Teachers initiative and the New Opportunities Fund ICT training programme.'

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