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Microsoft has become BT's first corporate customer to sign up for its broadband teleworking service.

Some 1,500 of the software company's home workers will be able to hook into a virtual private network, providing secure broadband access to Microsoft's network.

Of course, due to the limitations of broadband availability in the UK (only 60 per cent of the country is DSL-enabled, as if you didn't know) the headline-grabbing figure of connecting 1,500 of Microsoft's employees may not necessarily be fulfilled in full.

That's why the announcement is only an "agreement in principle" - for among other things, those 1,500 workers have to live close enough to DSL-enable exchange to take advantage of the service.

The same goes for BT, which also announced its plans to upgrade all of its 5,500 home workers to the new broadband teleworker service, starting with the 2,700 home workers within BT Retail.

Quizzed about whether all these home workers would be DSL-enabled, a spokesman for the telco said that "as many as possible" would be upgraded.

Unfortunately, at this stage BT is unable to say how many of this group will be able to upgrade to DSL.

Still, BT Retail reckons that the move will save it £1million for every 1,000 of its people it switches from ISDN to broadband.

The number of teleworkers in the UK is to grow by up to 25 per cent over the next four years and reach more than 8 million by 2005, according to BT's own research. ®

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