Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/12/31/bt_race/

BT fibre-up-your-exchange poll in 6-way Mugabe style pileup

'Race to Infinity' to end at midnight? Dictionary FAIL

By Christopher Williams

Posted in Broadband, 31st December 2010 11:26 GMT

Today is the last day of BT's "Race to Infinity" broadband upgrade competition, and the result already looks improbable.

BT launched the competition in early October, offering small towns and villages nationwide the chance to win a fibre upgrade for their local exchange.

Any community overlooked by the firm's commercial improvement programme was eligible to compete. BT customers have been asked to register their interest in faster broadband on a specially-created website. BT is committed to upgrade the five exchanges connected to the highest proportion of interested households (each must also have registered at least 1,000 households).

Simple enough. Except, as of today, according to the Race to Infinity website, there are six communities where 100 per cent of customers want faster broadband and have registered their interest online.

They are:

Whitchurch in Hampshire
Baschurch in Shropshire
Innerleithen in the Scottish Borders
Caxton in Cambridgeshire
Madingley in Cambridgeshire
Blewbury in Oxfordshire

Interestingly, the seventh-placed community, Marton in Warwickshire, is way off the pace with 78 per cent interested in a fibre upgrade.

Now, if one accepts the unlikely event that every single customer in six communities was compelled to register on the Race to Infinity site, the questionable result may not present BT with a problem. As well as the top five, it is pledged to consider works on any exchange where more than 75 per cent of households register their interest, so it could just upgrade all six at 100 per cent, and Marton at 78 per cent.

The poll closes at midnight tonight, so we'll have to wait until 2011 to find out how BT, and its PR agency Porter Novelli, which is running the Race to Infinity, explains the amazing response to the competition. ®