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BT today announced that broadband would reach 80 per cent of the UK in the next few years.

Speaking at the e-Summit in London, BT Retail chief exec Pierre Danon said the current momentum of broadband roll-out meant that many more people could
get broadband in the near future.

The optimism surrounding the availability of broadband - regarded as a key stumbling block to the take-up of a knowledge-based society - came as BT outlined its roadmap for broadband.

Pointing to the company's pre-registration scheme that maps demand in areas currently not served by ADSL, and other public/private sector projects, Danon said that exchanges were currently being upgraded to ADSL at the rate of one a day.

Said Mr Danon: "Broadband is well and truly at the heart of BT and we are absolutely committed to our target of one million broadband connections by the summer."

Looking ahead, he said that that by the middle of 2005 broadband could be available to around 90 per cent of households in the UK.

And giving hope to those who live beyond the reach of ADSL or cable broadband services, he explained how BT was working to overcome technical barriers to more widely-available broadband services.

Mr Danon also announced that BT would begin trials in Spring, 2003 of a 128Kbps mid-band service which should be available quickly to 97 per cent of the UK population.

Details are stil sketchy but it's understood that email will be provided on an "always on" basis, while accessing the Web will be done on a dial-up basis.

In July 2001 The Register reported that BT was looking at rolling out a 128Kbps service that would help meet demand for speedier access until current "broadband issues are resolved". ®

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