It will be at least another five years before even a quarter of the UK is using broadband to access the internet, according to BT chief executive Sir Peter Bonfield.
And that is only if government, content developers and telecoms suppliers work together to make it happen, he said.
Speaking at a Computer Software and Services Association event, Bonfield predicted that 20 to 25 per cent of connections will be broadband within five or six years, but warned: "To grow adoption it will take a lot of effort by a lot of people. There's no silver bullet for this."
More than two thirds of the country can get broadband, but few people are taking it up, he said.
While one part of government is happy to see BT reduce broadband prices, another part - Oftel - reacts by launching an investigation, Bonfield added. Each Oftel investigation costs BT around £1m, he claimed.
"We would like to reduce prices because broadband is price-elastic to a certain extent. But we are not allowed to cross-subsidise," he said. "The long term trend is that the price will come down and broadband will be a relatively inexpensive option."
BT research has found that 61 per cent of users would rather give up their television than their broadband connection, and 86 per cent wouldn't go back to narrowband even if it was free.
The telco claims that its broadband users spend twice as much time online as narrowband users.
Bonfield warned that the UK needs to use broad measures when comparing with other countries. "Setting the goal of a number of broadband connections is the wrong one. It needs to be broader than that," he told vnunet.com.
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