BT lifts ADSL restrictions

Supply sorted, but is there the demand?

BT is to lift restrictions on the supply of wholesale ADSL connections after tripling capacity over the last couple of months.

The decision could help spark an increase in take-up of broadband ADSL services if ISPs are confident that the lifting of restrictions is a genuine improvement to BT's wholesale service.

Up until now ISPs reselling BT's ADSL service could only be guaranteed a percentage of their allocation, resulting in some ISPs criticising the roll-out of ADSL in Britain.

Britain's leading consumer ISPs - AOL UK and Freeserve - effectively put their plans to market ADSL on hold because they claimed they couldn't guarantee an adequate supply of wholesale ADSL connections from BT.

However, in a letter to ISPs seen by The Register the monster telco said it intends to lift all restrictions from June 4.

BT hopes this will give ISPs the confidence to ramp up their ADSL offering in the knowledge that any increased demand will be met.

But according to Matt Peacock of AOL UK, BT's decision to remove restrictions is simply not enough.

"The allocation limit is only part of the issue," he said.

"The whole process - from ordering to installation - is a complete and utter shambles.

"BT has to be able to prove that the process is workable for a mass market operation like AOL - we simply don't have the confidence to rely on them," he said.

According to figures seen by The Register, BT has increased its capacity for supplying wholesale ADSL lines over the last couple of months and is currently running at less than 20 per cent of its full capability.

The latest figures from the telco show that half of all homes in the UK are now connected to a DSL-enabled telephone exchange with 60 per cent due to be hooked up by the end of September 2001. ®

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