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BT's broadband registration scheme a ‘shambles’

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The organiser behind a campaign to get his local exchange upgraded to ADSL has described BT's pre-registration scheme as a "shambles".

Lee Stoneman is the driving force behind the campaign to bring broadband to Worle, near Weston Super Mare.

Three weeks after reaching its trigger point of 400 registrations, fewer that 15 per cent of the registrations have been chased up. If 75 per cent of the registrations aren't secured by December 18, then Worle will have failed in its bid to get ADSL.

Said Lee: "I'm extremely concerned that our exchange might not get broadband. I'm also concerned that other exchanges might not get it too."

Part of the problem appears to be the confusion surrounding the scheme. He's been told by BT that three ISPs account for around 85 per cent of all the pre-registrations at Worle.

Snag is, these ISPs don't appear to be contacting those who've registered their interest to see if they still want broadband. Indeed, BT is so concerned it is also investigating the matter but won't say which ISPs are to blame.

The matter is further complicated because BT has also said that ISPs don't have to contact people. Instead, ISPs merely have to be "confident" that they will convert those registrations of interest into firm orders.

Unfortunately, it leaves people like Lee in the dark over the progress of their campaigns.

The whole process appears to lack any transparency or formal set of rules. This is particularly disheartening for Lee and other campaigners who have effectively acted as unpaid marketing volunteers working to generate demand for BT's broadband service. Not only has Lee set up a Web site, he's also been involved in leaflet drops, getting the local press to cover the issue and securing the support of his local MP.

He believes he's been misled by BT and is concerned at the ambiguity of the whole process. He wants to be reassured that the work he and other campaigners have put in to try and generate demand for broadband will not be wrecked by ISPs failing to take part in the scheme. ®

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