BT has lowered the customer levels required for upgrading an exchange to ADSL, a move it says will boost broadband use.
The maximum demand trigger level for 388 exchanges has been slashed, in one case from 750 to 200.
The telco will also set trigger levels for the first time at 87 exchanges. Work to provide ADSL will start immediately at 22 of these because the level of registration required has already been met as a result of the new, lower targets.
Since July last year, people in areas without broadband have been able to log their interest in the service through a registration scheme. BT promised to upgrade exchanges when the level of interest hit a set number of people willing to sign up for broadband services.
BT claimed it based the original trigger threshold levels on how much it would cost to enable an exchange, although analysts felt the thresholds were conservative.
Costs taken into consideration included how much civil engineering work was required and whether extensive new cabling and ducts were required.
Now BT Wholesale has claimed that following a review of the economics and after finding new technical solutions it has also been able to cut the cost of exchange upgrades.
Calling the changes a significant step in making broadband more widely available Paul Reynolds, BT Wholesale chief executive, said in a statement: "Our growing experience of the actual work involved now allows us to be confident in lowering many of the demand levels at which we will upgrade exchanges for broadband".
E-commerce minister Stephen Timms welcomed the news. "I am delighted to hear that BT is lowering the trigger levels to upgrade their exchanges for broadband. This move will be widely welcomed and will play a vital role in opening up broadband access, and not just to a privileged few," he said.
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