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We want broadband

Thousands demand high-speed internet, but will BT deliver?

BT Wholesale's broadband registration scheme has proved a huge hit, with nearly 50,000 people registering.

The scheme allows users to indicate their interest in signing up for ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) via a service provider of their choice, and figures released yesterday showed that 47,000 people have registered since the beginning of July.

"The launch of our broadband registration scheme in July gave people a direct influence on our rollout programme by registering demand against their local exchange," said Bruce Stanford, BT Wholesale's broadband director.

"We are looking forward to seeing the first exchanges reach their trigger levels so we can provide ADSL services where true demand has been identified through this scheme," added Stanford.

ADSL is currently available to about two thirds of the UK population, but the remaining third are still missing out on broadband technologies due to their location — generally a remote, rural area.

BT said it is pursuing "an alternative technical solution for areas where demand for broadband does not balance with the cost of upgrading the exchange". These include wireless and satellite services and a number of private sector funding initiatives.

Demand levels have been set between 200 and 500 users, which has been heavily criticised by pressure group Broadband4Britian, which claims these should be nearer 50.

But BT still insists this figure is unachievable.

"The figures we have produced are equated to the cost of rollout, [Broadband4Britain's] figures are not based on cost," said David Orr, spokesman at BT.

The telco said it is currently working on ways to reduce costs and developing different ways to deliver broadband to those areas where demand does not justify the current cost of upgrading the exchange.

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