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ICT enabling prosperity; The Greater Merseyside Digital Development Agency.

THE Greater Merseyside Digital Development Agency (GMDDA) is at the very heart of the ICT and digital agenda across Merseyside.

The GMDDA is a voluntary partnership that brings together business, voluntary, community and education sectors. The aims of the GMDDA are simple:

To raise awareness of the benefits to everyone

To increase the take-up of ICT and digital opportunity across all sectors and within every community across Merseyside

To help develop the skills to make best use of ICT and digital opportunity

To support the development of and investment in new technologies to meet the social and business requirements of Merseyside

This activity is designed to create an environment to help existing ICT, digital and creative businesses grow' new ones to invest in Merseyside' improve productivity' increase employment opportunities' raise skill levels and, most importantly, use technology to create prosperity.

Formed in 2002, GMDDA is structured into five partnership groups - e-business, e-learning, e-community, e-government and e-infrastructure.

The GMDDA executive board directs and monitors the work of these groups to maximise benefits and the sharing of good practice across Merseyside and beyond. All sectors are represented on the partnership, and play an equal part in delivering agreed action plans.

To date the GMDDA has delivered some notable successes including Merseyside ICT, MerseyBroadband and MSIF - and has been instrumental in raising the profile of ICT and digital opportunity across Merseyside, and the benefits of Merseyside as a digital hub. Merseyside has enjoyed substantial investment in broadband infrastructure from BT over recent years, due in no small part to the work of GMDDA.

As a result, more than 99% of Merseyside now has access to DSL broadband technology. However, despite these successes there is still much to do:

Take-up is still too low

Skill levels need to develop further

Existing businesses need support to grow

Inward investment is crucial

Chair of the GMDDA and chief executive of Halton Council, David Parr, said: "Information, communication and digital technologies are becoming increasingly critical to achieving greater economic and social prosperity on Merseyside.We see these technologies as integral to all aspects of the regeneration and renaissance of the area.

"Our collective desire is to optimise the huge opportunities ICT can provide for Merseyside and to achieve this through collaboration, partnership and full engagement with all sectors. Although much progress has been made, there is still insufficient connectivity between our strategic work and those delivering exciting and ground breaking ICT solutions at the sharp end.

"We need to do more to ensure everyone - users and providers alike - feels the real benefits and shares in the opportunities available. We also need to connect the work taking place in the many and various business, community and public domains to help each understand, react, impact and influence each other.

"Only through such an integrated approach will we harness the full potential of the existing and developing technology, maximise opportunity and increase prosperity. The GMDDA is well placed to develop this agenda and we are keen for others to join us to deliver real and sustainable outcomes for Merseyside."

For more information visit www.gmdda.org.uk

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Chair of GMDDA and chief executive of Halton Council, David Parr
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Apr 26, 2006
Words:530
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