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BT's ADSL roll-out hits snags

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BT has admitted that the roll-out of ADSL is not up to scratch.

At a review meeting with ISPs yesterday, execs at BT Broadband admitted that they had "capacity problems" at some 118 (of the 619 ADSL-enabled) exchanges which "caught us unawares".

However, The Register understands that most of the capacity issues are not serious and are as a result of "network systems not being aligned".

As of yesterday, the number of exchanges that experienced problems had come down to 70. This number is expected to fall rapidly.

Steve Andrews, president of BT Broadband also confirmed anecdotal reports that some exchanges had run out of capacity.

He told Reg today that some capacity problems have been caused by ISPs simply selling their ADSL services "too rapidly", leading to some exchanges "running short of port connections".

He said a process was in place to speed up the process of increasing capacity.

He also said he had recruited more personnel to man the Broadband Operations Unit - the central hub of BT Broadband's wholesale operation that handles enquiries from engineers in the field.

It appears BT misjudged the workload of this unit.

Andrews also denied that ADSL trained engineers were leaving BT to join other broadband outfits offering better pay, perks and conditions. He said BT now had 2,000 engineers in the field working to install ADSL products.

BT Broadband also confirmed that 14,000 end users had been connected to ADSL since the products were launched in the summer - around 8,000 since the launch of the consumer product at end August.

It is currently installing ADSL at around a rate of 5,000 end users a month - and intends to increase that to 15,000 by March 2001. ®

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