BT is extending its demand registration scheme for ADSL broadband, setting sign-up trigger levels for another 2,300 exchanges.
Alison Ritchie, BT's chief broadband officer, said a review of the telco's broadband strategy had made such a move possible.
This includes redesigning its network and extending the payback period for exchange activation beyond five years, which means that 32 exchanges will be upgraded immediately.
ADSL coverage currently spans around 80 per cent of the country. Last week e-minister Stephen Timms said 100 per cent broadband coverage in the UK community would be achievable by 2005 if industry and government pull together.
The remaining 600 BT exchanges, mostly in remote locations such as the highlands of Scotland, the Pennines and rural southern England, do not have trigger levels, because this method of activation is economically unviable.
In total, these exchanges serve around 100,000 households, with each exchange having less than 300 customers each. Ten serve fewer than 10 customers each.
Ritchie warned that a different approach would be needed for such cases. "BT is doing as much as it can but local government and private partners equally [need to] look at what they can do," she said.
According to BT the most cost-effective way of enabling the last 600 exchanges will be to offer only IPStream techonology. It is also looking at various alternative technologies such as WiFi and Wimax to reach customers living just outside of the range of ADSL on already-enabled exchanges.
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