"100 percent broadband coverage of every UK community is achievable by 2005 if industry and government pull together. This would put the UK in a position to lead the world" [BT]
Following an extensive and major review of exchanges waiting for broadband, this morning BT announced trigger levels of between 100 and 500 registrations for 2,300 exchanges based on the total cost of rollout along with weighted averages applied to the number of lines at each exchange and expected take-up. The trigger levels are surprisingly low at first sight considering the exchanges in question, but BT is taking into account the falling costs as well. The full BT press release can be read here.
This announcement will result in 32 exchanges triggering today and means that 99.1% of UK households and businesses are connected to broadband exchanges. At present, BT say 80% of UK households are on broadband enabled exchanges with next year's interim goal set at 90%. However, even once all the exchanges that have a trigger level are enabled for broadband, there will still be 600 "of the very smallest exchanges" serving 0.9% of the population which do not have a trigger level all of which have less than 300 lines and ten of which have less than ten.
These exchanges which serve about 100,000 households will still require different approaches to delivering broadband. One common complaint made to BT is that the current coverage on an enabled exchange is only around 96% of households. BT is trialling new wireless solutions and is working to extend the physical reach of DSL from enabled exchanges.
BT stresses the importance of regional partnerships with government and local industry which have been so successful in Cornwall and in other areas, including aggregation of public sector demand (schools, libraries, etc.) to create the drive for broadband take-up.
The full list of 2300 new triggers is not available at present but the various demand trackers will update automatically once they are set in the BT database. [seb & mrsaffron]
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