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Six contracts have been placed with industrial companies for the production of 1200 tons of the superconducting (SC) cables needed for the main dipoles and quadrupoles of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). In addition, two contracts have been placed for the supply of 470 tons of NbTi and 26 tons of Nb sheets. The main characteristic of the specification is that it is functional. This means that the physical, mechanical and electrical properties of strands and cables are specified without defining the manufacturing processes. Facilities for the high precision measurements of the wire and cable properties have been implemented at CERN, such as strand and cable critical current, copper to superconductor ratio, interstrand resistance, magnetization, RRR at 4.2 K and 1.9 K. The production has started showing that the highly demanding specifications can be fulfilled. This paper reviews the organization of the contracts, the test facilities installed at CERN, the various types of measurements and the results of the main physical properties obtained on the first batches. The status of the deliveries is presented.