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BT is to use fixed wireless technology - and not just ADSL over its existing copper phone network - to bring broadband to rural areas.

Following successful trials of the technology in Cornwall, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, the UK's dominant telco is now prepared to roll-out similar services to other parts of the country.

However, the telco said it wouldn't "go it alone" and insisted that such investment would have to be shared.

Speaking at a broadband conference in Cornwall today BT Retail chief exec Pierre Danon stressed that the deployment of wireless broadband would "require partnerships with regional development agencies or other public sector partners".

He said that BT plans to invest around £22 million by 2005 in setting up a total of 35 public private partnerships across the UK to bring broadband to areas where exchanges have not been enabled.

While BT trumpets today's news, others are wondering what the fuss is all about. After all, they claim, more and more communities without an ADSL-enabled exchange are signing up to wireless broadband - with or without BT's help.

In November, for example, wireless outfit FDM Broadband kicked up a stink after being messed around by BT. Then, there were the folks at West Norfolk Community Broadband (WNCB) and their run-in with the monster telco... ®

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