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Filling in the broadband gaps in the West Midlands
Wednesday 02 November 2005 09:35:00 by Andrew Ferguson

Good news for those in the West & East Midlands and South West as 45 telephone exchanges are set to be enabled by summer 2006. This is as part of the Rural Broadband Access Project, which is located at www.thepowerofbroadband.org.uk/.

Twenty four of the exchanges are in the West Midlands, and cover around 10,000 homes and businesses. These exchanges were not originally enabled by BT since BT saw no economic case for enabling them, i.e. the pay back period was longer than what BT considered economic. It is not clear at this stage whether we are looking at full build ADSL roll-out or the more limited Exchange Activate scheme which only provides a 0.5Mbps service, and a limited choice of service providers.

The exchanges in the Midlands are: Alstonfield, Blackshaw, Burwarton, Leebotwood, Longtown Castle, Michaelchurch, Middleton Scriven, Morville, Norton - Shropshire, Onecote, Pencombe, Rudyard, Uppington, Wetwood, Yockleton, Hamstall Ridware, Hollington, How Caple, Ivington, Kinlet, Lee Brockhurst, Calverhall, Cotheridge, Fradley and Thorpe Cloud.

Those exchanges in the South West to be enabled are: Wylye, Oxenwood, North Tamerton, Brendon, Lydford, Farway, Manaton, Chillaton, Clayhanger, Filleigh, Rackenford, Widecombe In The Moor, Drewsteignton, Postbridge, Leighterton, Rodmarton, Lydeard St Lawrence, Crowcombe, Brompton Regis, St Agnes, Tresco, St Martins and Bryher

While this is good news for people in those areas, some reality is needed, in that many people are going to be talking of 100% coverage, and unfortunately ADSL will not work over some very long telephone lines. So while a region may have 100% of its exchanges enabled, it will not have 100% broadband coverage.

Update Thursday 3rd November 2005: We have subsequently found out since writing the original news item, that the exchanges will be enabled with a full ADSL build, thus giving the full range of BT Wholesale ADSL services, i.e. 0.25Mbps through 8Mbps with the Max ADSL product range once fully available. Additionally further work is being carried out to look at alternative technologies in the areas covered by the scheme to bring broadband to those areas where an ADSL service will not reach.

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