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Letters The news that BT is scrapping its pre-registration scheme and is getting on with the business of unbundling the broadband stuff has not met with glowing praise from all quarters. A few of you have written in to complain that the rug has been pulled from under your feet somewhat.

BT contacted its Broadband campaigners, outlining their change in strategy. Some of these - who were further than 10 per cent away from reaching their trigger numbers - may have to wait longer than they expected to get their connection up and running:

Hello Reg,

Got this [the letter from BT - Ed] today from BT, In my capacity as a local BB campaigner.

It could be good news for some, or very bad news.

We (Badminton exchange) were 29 names from our target, hoping to hit it this weekend (the Horse Trials bring all the locals out into the sunlight), and get BB by Christmas.

With this “new plan” (which is how they should have done it from day 1 – we’d be all done by now if they had) we might end up waiting until summer NEXT year.

Regards,

Mark Studden

Mark, you are not alone:

Hi Just as we were about to upload over 100 registrants into the Woodbury, Devon BT broadband registration database - BT closed it, without warning!

We have worked hard over the last few months to raise the awareness and interest for broadband and had a meeting on Monday evening to collate all the forms. We tried to upload the registrants this morning (Tuesday 27th April) that would have taken us to our trigger level and now we are left in limbo. BT will announce the roll out schedule on 30th June 2004 so we may not even get broadband until summer 2005. Can you image how we feel, having spent all that time an effort to raise the numbers and then find that we can't get it into the system. We seriously think that BT could have given some warning to campaigners, especially as those campaigners are the unpaid sales people for BT.

Nova Fisher

We raised this with BT, wondering if perhaps there could be a less altruistic reason for the sudden decision. After all, wouldn't it be much easier if it could do the roll out on its own timescale, rather than in dribs and drabs through hamlet, village and town?

BT says it is also a case of it being for the greater good. Overall, the roll-out will happen more quickly this way, whatever consolation that may be to those left without the fat pipe of their dreams. Here's what BT had to say:

While we recognise everyone’s desire to see their local exchange upgraded as soon as possible, the move to a planned rollout programme will get broadband to more than 1,100 exchanges sooner than would otherwise have been possible. We will be giving service dates to all those exchanges that were within 10 per cent of hitting their trigger. We had to set a cut off point somewhere and felt that 90 per cent was a fair point as these exchanges were likely to hit their target within the next few weeks.

All remaining exchanges that had triggers will go into the planned programme. Dates will be issued at the end of June with summer 2005 as the absolute end date. It is therefore too early to speculate as to when particular communities will get broadband. Our aim however is that every community will receive broadband sooner than would otherwise have been the case but there may be some exceptions. We will make every effort to consider those exchanges with high levels of registrations when setting the RFS dates over the next few months.

We greatly appreciate everyone's patience on this issue as well as their efforts in raising awareness and demand. If any campaginer would like to discuss their particular exchange in detail then please email us at bb.campaign.groups@bt.com.

®

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