As many as 25 million people will be excluded from ADSL services according to a confidential BT report disclosed to The Times.

The leaked document says that there will be large areas where high speed internet connections are believed to be “commercially and technically unviable.”

The areas worst affected are the North, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland leading to the creation of a digital North/South divide.

A spokesman for BT admitted that roll out of ADSL was going to be limited at first to the areas with the greatest demand and business density. This was therefore likely to be Southern England.

He said that 70% of BT exchanges would be ADSL compliant by the end of 2001.

However, according to The Times only 85% of customers connected to a compliant exchange would be able to use the service.