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Independent trigger levels

Website aims to encourage non-BT broadband connections

In an aim to increase broadband availability in the UK and to spur ISPs and cable companies into action, campaigners have set up a website,
allowing internet users to register their interest in.

Unlike BT's trigger figures, all the data collected will be freely available to cable companies and ISPs wishing to offer broadband services themselves (through cable or wireless connections as opposed to through BT exchanges), cutting out the need for the telco giant altogether.

"I have set up this website for several reasons but [mainly] because I don’t think telcos and ISPs are doing enough," said Rob Knowles, founder of the site.

"There isn't much wholesale competition for broadband and this is keeping prices high. I want to show ISPs and individuals that using the information I have collected [they can offer broadband services]," added Knowles.

But trigger levels aren't really an issue for cable firms. Unlike BT, which demands a certain amount of users to justify the cost of upgrading, Telewest and NTL have already rolled out services to 95 percent of their networks.

"It's not a case of needing a certain number of users," said a spokeswoman at Telewest. "Where we haven't upgraded the network its due to technical issues rather than demand."

Wireless broadband access has traditionally been more expensive than ADSL (Liberty wireless services cost £149.99 for installation plus a monthly fee of £39.99)
and therefore appeals to a more limited audience than ADSL.

"There are already several of these trigger figure sites available,” said a spokesman at the Broadband Wireless Association, “and as much as they are useful in order to ascertain where broadband demands are the highest, providers to not require trigger figures in the same way as BT does as they do not have to shell out on upgrading exchanges."

Thebroadbandcampaign.co.uk website will require users to give details of their postcode, the provider of their current connection and its speed, then the speed of connection they require and how much they are realistically willing to for it.

Such websites show that people are looking for alternative routes to ADSL, which will hopefully push prices down in the wireless and satellite broadband areas offering services for those outside BT's ADSL catchment areas.

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