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Stop ‘whingeing’ about broadband – BTopenworld chief

There's enough to start the revolution

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TMA The head of BT's Internet business called on the industry to stop "whingeing" about the lack of supply of broadband and to get on with the business of making broadband Britain a reality.

Speaking at TMA 2001 in Brighton this morning, Andy Green, chief exec of BTopenworld, said that the UK was one of the most advanced ebusiness nations in the world with high levels of secure servers and Internet users.

He said that the thanks to cable services, the UK boasted one of the most competitive broadband marketplaces anywhere in Europe.

And that with as many as one in seven of the population able to get broadband if they want it, he concluded that there was no supply problem in the UK.

Said Mr Green: "75 per cent availability [of broadband] should be enough to start this revolution.

"If you can't make the numbers work on that, when will it happen? Eighty per cent? Ninety per cent?" he said.

Hitting back at criticism that Britain's lack of broadband take-up was due to a lack of supply of broadband services, Mr Green rattled off a string of now well-rehearsed arguments BT wheels out on such occasions to explain why demand has yet to take-off.

According to Mr Green, consumers are happy with flat-fee narrowband services which makes them reluctant to upgrade to broadband services. There is also no compelling broadband content or applications, he said, and called upon industry to act to rectify this.

Earlier, John Wright, chairman of the Communications Management Association (CMA) flagged a survey conducted by the industry group which found that more than two thirds of respondents want broadband Net access but can't get it.

He said that despite BT's claims, there just isn't enough broadband access in the UK and that this is hampering the country's competitiveness.

A show of hands at the end of the opening session - The Burning Issue: Building Broadband Britain - suggested that delegates believed that both supply and demand-side problems were to blame for the lack of take-up in the UK.

A great British compromise if ever there was one. ®

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