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BT sets more broadband trigger levels

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The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

BT Wholesale announced the broadband registration trigger levels for a further 169 exchanges yesterday, giving hope to yet more people that one day, maybe, just maybe, they too could get affordable broadband in their area.

The telco claims the launch of its broadband registration system gives people a "direct influence on [its] rollout programme by registering demand against their local exchange".

Once trigger levels (which mark demand levels for each local exchange) are reached it should prompt BT to upgrade an exchange currently not served by DSL.

Of course, this cautious, demand-led approach is necessary because BT - and the market come to that - simply isn't in the position to invest the cash necessary to upgrade all its exchanges and make broadband universally available.

However, the most telling part of yesterday's announcement is that a review of some 74 exchanges has concluded that demand trigger levels based on current costs "would not realistically be met given the number of lines served".

In other words, it would cost too much to upgrade these exchanges with little hope that enough people would sign up to broadband.

Instead, the telco is "investigating how to reduce the cost of enabling these exchanges and is looking at different methods of delivering broadband to these areas".

Earlier this month BT Wholesale announced it would run a series of trials from this autumn that could bring ADSL to areas currently deemed not commercially viable.

The "Community Broadband Concept" will use new broadband ADSL exchange equipment that can serve as few as 16 end users per exchange, making it ideal for areas where demand is limited.

Industry insiders have told us that this could prove to be a very exciting development and one they intend to look at with interest to see how it develops. ®

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