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BT's broadband roll-out fails UK

BT wary of 'high-risk' DSL strategy

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Four out of ten British households will be unable to access broadband services once BT has completed, in September, its planned roll-out of ADSL in the UK.

After that, any future upgrading of telephone exchanges to accommodate DSL technology will have to be proven to be demand led and "commercially viable".

However, in the current climate it appears BT will be in no rush to invest further in its broadband network.

According to BT's own figures, once its planned roll-out of DSL is complete in September 48 per cent of schools with be unable to hook up to DSL technology and 29 per cent of colleges will also be able to experience hi-speed Net access. A third of Britain's existing Net users will also be unable to use DSL, as will half of all libraries.

This is a far cry from the rhetoric of a couple of two years ago when BT "pledged to go full steam ahead with its planned investment programme that will lead to the creation of Broadband Britain".

Rebecca Webster, head of broadband marketing for BT told The Register: "We have announced our [roll-out] plans up to the end of September. We will continue to rollout if the demand is there and there is a firm business case. We have not announced forward plans because we do not want to raise expectations unduly.

She continued: "We prioritised the exchanges according to where Internet usage is highest and therefore where the demand for bandwidth was greatest.

"Provisioning the exchanges requires a huge up-front investment. It would be a high-risk strategy to continue to rollout out to the lower demand areas, given the demand in recent months. We need to take stock and see what happens to the market now that the allocations scheme has been removed," she said. ®

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