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Wiltshire SmartPlace scheme exchange service dates
Saturday 09 August 2003 13:03:00 by Andrew Ferguson

In addition to the normal release of Ready for Service dates this week brings confirmation of the service dates for the BT exchanges covered by the Wiltshire SmartPlace scheme.





RFS Date

Amesbury 189 63% 300 17th December 2003
Bromham 200 100% 200 5th November 2003
Chiseldon 150 100% 150 29th October 2003
Cricklade 232 57% 400 17th December 2003
Hawthorn 239 68% 350 17th December 2003
Keevil 104 69% 150 29th October 2003
Pewsey 203 81% 250 5th November 2003
Purton 269 No trigger 17th December 2003
Seend 82 54% 150 17th December 2003
Westbury 446 89% 500 29th October 2003
Wilton 115 76% 150 5th November 2003

As can be seen a number of exchanges had made it without any help, though publicity of the scheme will have helped to some extent. Then there are exchanges like Purton which still had no trigger set that BT are now going to enable - so the people and businesses in that area will certainly benefit. Critics of the money spent in these schemes like to point out that many exchanges would have eventually reached their trigger, but somewhere like Cricklade would probably have taken until June 2004 to reach its trigger, so the scheme has had a positive effect. Regional Development agency schemes will always look odd to the public because their focus is invariably not on getting home users connected, but producing some form of economic benefit to businesses. Fortunately with schemes that result in a BT exchange gaining ADSL, home users benefit also.

The largest criticism we have seen of almost all the RDA schemes is the amount of money involved which is often earmarked for education and assistance for small businesses. For many this looks a waste of money, but perhaps in light of a survey this week that shows even among home computers 70% of people do not know what a 'Wi-Fi hotspot' is, then it may be money well spent. Small businesses whose focus is not the IT industry often struggle to find independent affordable accurate IT information, which is where the RDA money comes into things.


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