BT reveals ADSL roll-out plan

Ten UK cities earmarked for high speed network

London, Cardiff and Edinburgh are among 10 cities earmarked by BT to be equipped with ADSL technology by March 2000. BT made the announcement early this morning in a statement outlining its plans to make "Britain a world leader in the information revolution". The announcement adds substance to earlier leaked reports about BT's commitment to ADSL. It comes in the same week that the telecomms watchdog Oftel launched its consultation document examining the proposed use of a high speed multimedia network by BT. BT also said it intends to open up the service to competition by offering the ADSL connections wholesale to a wide range of service providers and other operators. According to the telco, this should enable other operators to offer combined packages of digital content and digital connections to their customers. But wholesale prices for service operators will range from around £40 to £150 per month. Add on their cut and the cost of piping ADSL technology into the home could be simply out of reach for many people. Sir Peter Bonfield, BT's chief executive, said: "This roll-out plan is a major step towards making Britain a world leader in the information revolution. By committing to a large scale roll-out, BT will play a vital part in stimulating a competitive mass-market for consumers as well as businesses of all sizes. "It will drive new information industries and services to the benefit of all." The other seven cities on BT's hit list are: Belfast, Coventry, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle and Glasgow. Four hundred exchanges, covering almost six million households and businesses, will be upgraded by March 2000. ®

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