18/11/2003

Total broadband coverage by 2005, says BT

Total broadband coverage for internet access in all areas of the UK community may be achieved by 2005 if industry and government work in partnership, according to BT.

The telecommunications company also announced that it was extending its demand registration scheme for ADSL broadband by setting triggers for a further 2,300 exchanges, serving two million homes and businesses.

BT Group Chief Executive Ben Verwaayen said: “BT’s registration scheme has been a world-leading success in focusing new investment where there is demand. We have clear momentum and this, together with our latest understanding of technology and costs and the growing enthusiasm for regional partnerships, means we can take a new approach to broadband investment. We are now in a position to extend trigger levels into the furthest parts of the UK."

He added that when all these exchanges are enabled, more than 99% of UK homes and businesses would be connected to broadband exchanges.

“There’s no doubt however that many of these trigger levels are very challenging to hit,” he said. “In some areas, market stimulation alone will not be sufficient to deliver broadband. We are critically dependent on public partnerships to stimulate demand and to intervene with support to get the exchanges enabled early and even to help reduce the triggers. This will be essential to deliver the benefits of broadband to every community.

“We are enormously encouraged by initiatives already under way to achieve 100% availability at a local, regional or country level.”

BT currently makes mass-market broadband available to more than 80% of households – more houses than are connected to mains gas.

The company is set to upgrade exchanges serving 90% during next year an achievement that BT claims places the UK at the leading edge of G7 economies.

(SP)

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