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BT wants to ‘make Britain click’

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Ben Verwaayen said that today’s announcement to slash the cost of wholesale DSL was about "making Britain click".

Speaking to analysts this morning the BT chief exec said that today’s decision to cut the wholesale cost of DSL to less than £15 a month was "within the regulatory framework of the UK and financially sound for BT".

The move is so radical he believes that by 2006 a quarter of all the UK’s Internet connections could be via broadband connections.

But he denied BT has bowed to Government pressure to slash costs, insisting that this was a business decision that is financially sound for BT and its shareholders.

He also insisted that today’s targets were "achievable and realistic".

Addressing the issue of supply Mr Verwaayen also said that BT would be looking to enter partnerships with the public and private sector to increase the availability of DSL in rural areas.

But he explained: "We have to make sure that what we do is economically viable and sound for BT."

What’s clear from today’s announcement is that BT is to make broadband a major plank of its revenue-making strategy and that the monster telco has been able to cut costs through a "focused programme of cost reduction".

This includes lower costs associated with recently introduced DIY self-install products, cheaper broadband network equipment and the introduction of automated services.

From today BT will start running ads telling people about the benefits of broadband. And people contacting BT for a second phone line will instead be offered the chance to take-up broadband in a move set to stimulate demand.

Furthermore BT is to conduct a survey of its 19 million consumers to understand what they want from broadband. Mr Verwaayen said that BT would donate £1 to the charity Childline for each response BT gets.

"I hope we give them £19 million," he said. ®

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