BT has launched a nationwide survey to gauge the level of demand for fibre broadband in various locations across the UK to help influence its deployment plans.
The Race to Infinity survey will run until the end of the year and will give communities across the UK the chance to show their interest in being part of BT's planned rollout of fibre broadband to two-thirds of the UK by 2015.
BT has also added a competitive element to the survey: it will guarantee to enable the exchanges in the five localities that generate the most demand by 2012 whether they were previously included in its rollout plans or not.
"BT Retail is using this competition to take advantage of the offer from BT's Openreach division for communication providers (CPs) to nominate up to six exchanges they want enabled," said a spokesman for BT.
"As such, BT Retail has set aside £10m to cover the potential additional cost of the exchanges that win being from harder-to-reach areas."
However, any area with fewer than 1,000 premises will not be eligible to win the competition due to the fact it would almost certainly be too expensive to fund the rollout to these locations.
BT said that small communities should still vote as this would make the company aware of the interest in the area. The survey will also only consider each vote from an individual address once, so that homes and businesses have the same impact on the survey.
The spokesman explained that BT will meet with any community that polls 75 per cent of its possible votes to discuss if the exchange could be added to future rollouts.
"It could be that BT is able to find a technical solution to add the exchange to a rollout taking place nearby or that there is community funding available from public sector resource that could make the upgrade viable," he added.
The move marks another broadband initiative from BT after the firm announced last week that it will supply fibre broadband to every citizen in Cornwall by 2014 through a project part-funded by the European Union.
BT explained that due to this project the exchanges in Cornwall are not eligible to be included in the Race to Infinity competition.
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