BT has kicked off a series of trials to assess the feasibility of delivering wireless broadband to rural areas, as part of its effort to achieve 100 per cent broadband coverage in the UK by 2005.
The telco said that the trial would target some of its final 600 smallest exchanges, where an ADSL trigger level has not been set and homes are based more than 6km from a broadband enabled exchange.
Many of these exchanges have so few households connected that it would be uneconomical for them to be broadband enabled using fixed wires.
The technology behind the trial uses transmission principles similar to radio signals.
Radio broadband travels from a base station to the user's computer via a low-power antenna, similar to a satellite dish but diamond-shaped and much smaller, fitted onto the side of each house.
Participants for the three-month trial have been selected from rural households and businesses in Ballingry in Scotland, Pwllheli in Wales, Porthleven in Cornwall and Campsie in Northern Ireland.
They will be asked to complete short surveys during and after the trial to assess the service.
The 105 people who registered interest via a website will get always-on internet access at speeds "similar" to BT's ADSL service.
Pierre Danon [pictured], chief executive at BT Retail, said in a statement: "BT is absolutely committed to our goal of 100 per cent broadband coverage for every UK community by 2005.
"We want to make broadband services available to everyone in the UK. Whether they live in town centres or rural communities should be irrelevant.
"The benefits of broadband are extensive and we are working hard to make this target a reality."
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