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Schools in Somerset are about to gain access to super-fast broadband courtesy of a new joint venture, it has been announced.

A total of 269 educational institutions will benefit from a new project run by Somerset County Council, Taunton Deane Borough Council, Avon and Somerset Police and IBM.

The Southwest One partnership will use BT's super-fast broadband technology to create a schools network throughout the county, providing next-generation web access by spring 2011.

Commenting on the plans, Somerset County Councillor David Huxtable said the scheme should be seen as "great news" for local schools.

"We hope this will be a catalyst that allows significant improvement to Somerset's broadband and communications infrastructure, enabling significant opportunities for Somerset's future economic and social growth," he stated.

BT is currently investing £2.5 billion upgrading local telephone exchanges around the UK to support super-fast broadband.

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