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BTopenworld CE insults Net users

We're just using the Net for a 'weird kind of entertainment' apparently

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A senior exec at BT has slurred the good name of British Net users describing their online activities as a "passive and sometimes rather weird kind of entertainment".

BTopenworld CE, Andy Green, delivered his insults during a debate organised by the Parliamentary IT Committee (PITCOM) on the White Paper on the Regulation of Telecommunications.

Those taking part included David "Harry Potter" Edmonds, Head Boy of Oftel, Dominic Morris of the Independent Television Commission and Green.

His remarks show the contempt BT has for the Net and its users.

Said Green: "Only 30 per cent of the population is on the Net, of which only a tiny proportion are using it for anything other than a passive and sometimes rather weird kind of entertainment."

The business community must be happy to know that BT thinks their online activities are nothing more than a "rather weird kind of entertainment". Prime Minister Tony Blair must be happy to know that his efforts to get Government services online are providing a "rather weird kind of entertainment" for the nation's citizens.

A spokesman for BT said that Green is famous for his sense of humour and that this was said in jest. And although we have obtained a transcript of what he said, we have no way of gauging how this was delivered.

So, let's not be distracted by this. However insulting/amusing, it is his assertion that the evolution of broadband should be driven by the applications available - and not the availability of a high-powered network - that is truly worrying .

Said Green: "...we must have universal access, but we must not worry about technology. I was frankly depressed when I went to see the Select Committee, because they spent the whole time worrying about getting DSL up to a remote Scottish glen. They were obsessed by the idea that this was the whole answer to Universal Access. There are many different technologies and solutions will come when markets exist. What is driving the digital divide is not whether Broadband is linked into people's homes. It is the lack of applications for people to do on the Net."

If the Minister for Textiles and part-time E-minister, Patricia Hewitt, Head Boy Edmonds and the rest of the wired world had any doubts about BT's approach to broadband...then here it is.

Green believes applications should come before the roll-out of a broadband network; he believes the roll-out of broadband should be demand-led.

So the message from BT is clear: companies should invest millions on useful, worthy and non-weird applications; ordinary consumers should pay £1,000 for a PC. And then they should wait because maybe...just maybe...BT will come along and give them a network capable of utilising that investment.

That is, of course, unless you live in some remote Scottish glen... ®

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