The MSE is an independent body. It will be engaged to manage, market and maintain the fibre optic metropolitan area networks currently being constructed under the regional broadband programme.
Notice of my Department's intention to commence a competitive tender process for the engagement of an MSE was published in the Official Journal of the European Communities on 19 June 2003. Responses received by the tender deadline of 15 August 2003 have been evaluated. I anticipate that the procurement process will reach a conclusion shortly. I will not comment on the identity of participating parties prior to then.