The reality of ADSL coverage
For people aware of the technical limits over which ADSL will work, it will be no surprise to read over at icWales.co.uk that some parts of Wales are unable to get ADSL. Of course this issue is not solely a Welsh one. It applies to anywhere where ADSL is deployed around the world.
Stagecraft UK who are a supplier of garden centre displays is one company suffering due to the distance from their telephone exchange. A look at maps.google.com reveals the company is 7.9 miles (~12.5km) from the exchange.
The reason it seems these cases have made the press is that the companies are not too happy about the withdrawal of grants for satellite or microwave based broadband solutions by the Welsh Assembly when the deal to enable all the remaining exchanges was made. Criticism is aimed at BT as to why they are not helping the companies, which seems unfair as other communications providers may be able to provide solutions such as leased lines or microwave solutions. With broadband in the UK not being subject to any Universal Service Obligation (USO), there is no legal requirement to provide service.
While a USO requiring, for example, a 0.5Mbps service to be available to all who ask for it would be a good step forward, the problem lies with how it is implemented. Forcing the USO on the BT Group could raise prices and additionally give BT an unfair advantage in acquiring customers in less densely populated areas.