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The Chafford Five Hundred
Saturday 15 March 2003 09:33:00 by Andrew Ferguson

Chafford Hundred which is currently left out in the cold by BT Wholesale, may be seeing Mesh Wireless Broadband coming to its area around the end of March 2003.

Chafford Hundred is unusual in that it has 476 registrations, but in any reviews to determine a trigger level it was deemed un-viable. This means BT Wholesale feels that the exchange would cost more to enable than the revenue it could generate. Chafford Hundred is located just east of Thurrock in Essex and has a population of around 5000, and has grown from a population of 2000 in 1998. The question is how many phone lines are in use in the area - working from the national average it will be around 2000-3000 lines, though as the area is a new developement it is possible that if popular with commuters a lot of people may be relying purely on a mobile phone, i.e. not using a land line at all.

If the 3000 lines is correct, then the campaign has done well to get 1/6 of the lines registered, the lack of trigger suggests the actual amount required is somewhere in the order of 1000+. Which would require 1/3 of the lines in the area to register. Not impossible, but very unlikely and in a commercial world which alas BT Wholesale is operating in the gamble may be seen as a gamble too far.

The prospect of Mesh Broadband is to be welcomed, apparently the wireless will be using a bundle of ADSL lines in Grays which is close enough and is ADSL enabled. At the end of the day, BT may even be able to hold Chafford up as an example of how the market place can ensure that all areas will get coverage - the problem is many people feel Broadband is too important to be left purely to market forces.


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