I tried something similar years ago for MCSE training - when it was cheaper to fly out to South Africa or India and stay there to do the course, than it was to drive to Birmingham to do it.
Even though it saved a couple of thousand quid - the company wouldn't allow it :mad:
Here's another interesting link from The Guardian
Not sure whether its funny or depressing...or both...
Whilst £400 for a data point is expensive, I find that much easier to believe because it could be in a truly horrendous location and with more scope for additional costs.
I think the underlying problem is lack of ownership & accountability.
Like many network managers, I know that my budget is limited, so I have an incentive to get the best value I can & I push the budget as far as possible. If I can 'wheel & deal' with suppliers to shave a bit off the price I will as I know that the money I save can be spent on other things for my school.
By way of contrast, Central Purchasing depts tend to be remote and detached from the point of delivery. They agree a price for a product or service and are content to stick at that level until the contract is due for renewal. Often they have no incentive to closely monitor the price being paid. I think this is particularly true in the public sector and PFI seems to bring out the worst.
Thats logical sense, the government don't do that :D