BT is to trial a 128Kbps 'Midband' service next spring aimed at people who can't afford, or don't have access to, broadband.
Speaking at the e-Summit in London on Tuesday, BT Retail chief executive Pierre Danon predicted that over 80 per cent of the country would be wired up for broadband within the next three years.
But he admitted that technical limitations, and pricing for alternatives such as satellite and wireless broadband, would still put it out of reach for many consumers.
"There are technological limits to providing affordable broadband for all. So we are announcing an alternative high-speed internet access product for those who would not be able to get broadband," he told delegates.
BT's Midband offering will consist of two 64Kbps connections bundled together to create a 128Kbps channel. It will not be completely always-on, but will provide 'always-on' email, according to Danon.
Trials of Midband are expected to begin in March or April next year. The service is expected to cost between £20 and £25 per month, although no exact prices were available at the time of going to press.
Meanwhile, Danon indicated that BT will continue to extend the number of areas and exchanges where standard broadband would be available. This currently stands at about one exchange upgraded a day, he said.
"We are absolutely committed to our target of one million broadband connections by next summer," Danon told delegates.
Antony Walker, chief executive at the Broadband Stakeholder Group said: "As an interim solution this is a positive move to get increased bandwidth to areas which have no broadband access. If you only had a 56 k modem, while this service is not a broadband solution, you would probably be very happy with it as an alternative to narrowband.
"So it is a postive move as it gets more people on the broadband journey and while it is not an end solution, BT isn't selling it as broadband."
"We've now had more than 200,000 registrations of interest for our registration scheme. That interest is helping to push our broadband exchange enabling scheme."
Danon confirmed that BT would not count the new Midband product as part of its broadband targets.
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