Sir George comments on BT's plans to roll out Broadband
19 Jun 2002
This is BT's recent announcement.

BT Wholesale chief executive, Paul Reynolds, said: "This exciting new scheme ives us the means to bring broadband Britain to every community where it is commercially viable. It will act as a true barometer of demand.

"People have been claiming that there is sufficient demand for broadband in heir areas if only they had a way to channel their interest to us. Now we have created just such a scheme.

"Businesses and consumers can register their interest with service providers who will record it on the broadband registration database. The demand and the target levels will be clearly visible to all and will help individuals, communities, local authorities and service providers to have a direct impact on broadband roll out."

BT Wholesale's scheme will go live on July 1 and will record firm demand for broadband at every exchange in the country. It will also publish the threshold at which the level of demand makes individual exchanges commercially viable for broadband upgrade.

At launch, trigger levels ranging from 200 to 500 user registrations will be published for more than 300 of 500 exchanges reviewed since April to establish individual costs of ADSL deployment and operation.

200 - 500 looks a high number but this is per exchange not per village/town.

For the remaining exchanges in that review further work needs to be done to work out costs before a threshold is set. Threshold levels for these exchanges plus a further 400 exchanges will be published in phases between July and September.

I think we can assume that the remaining exchanges will be ones with fewer users.

The move will also help BT reach its target of one million broadband connections by summer 2003. So far more than 250,000 customers have been connected to ADSL. BT Wholesale has enabled 1,115 exchanges, serving 66 per cent of Britain's households and 73 per cent of current internet users.

The 900 exchanges being reviewed for the broadband registration scheme, together with the 1,115 exchanges already ADSL-enabled, serve more than 80 per cent of Britain's homes.

These are my comments

Good news for some!
Sir George welcomes BT's latest broadband initiative - with reservations.

BT has announced that from 1 July it will encourage people in areas that do not have ADSL broadband to register an interest and will publish the threshold for ADSL-enabling a particular exchange and the numbers of people/companies that have registered at that exchange.
I welcome this and all other efforts to make it easier for people in rural and other "outside ADSL" to understand how they stand in BT's rollout plans.
However, as BT's own announcement makes clear, even with the total of 2000 exchanges they envisage becoming ADSL-enabled by the end of this programme, that will leave 20% - one in five - of rural premises still out in the cold.
We urgently need a more positive national strategy to address this deficit.
I will continue to work with business leaders in the towns and villages in my constituency to promote demand for ADSL and to see that it is delivered as soon as possible.

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