BT Abandons Broadband Pre-Registration Scheme, Promises Coverage to Rural Britain

BT’s preregistration scheme for broadband has been dropped, because of high demand for the service throughout the country. Instead, the telco has promised to make an additional 1128 exchanges broadband-enabled by 2005 – providing coverage to 99.6% of the UK. Coverage is at about 85% today.

Alison Ritchie, BT chief broadband officer, said in a release from the company: “BT has continued to innovate in order to drive broadband as an enabler for tomorrow’s society and to deliver a truly Broadband Britain.

“The broadband registration scheme has been a powerful tool for us to match investment to demand and its fantastic success, with the support of local campaigners, has set the way for other countries to follow. Now, as we move into more and more rural areas and we have a clearer picture of growing demand, there are real benefits to be gained through a planned roll out. This means we can deliver broadband to far more people in a shorter timeframe.

“This approach also means we can use the best engineering solution for the whole network to efficiently manage costs and future growth. Together with our plans to extend the reach of broadband from a local exchange, this takes us significantly closer to universal availability.”

The previous initiative, where an exchange was only converted if there were enough preregistered customers to make it worthwhile, prompted BT to upgrade over 2000 exchanges.

The company will now be undertaking a systematic roll-out to all but the very smallest exchanges. As for the remaining 100,000 UK premises that won’t be covered by the new exchange upgrades, BT has promised to continue to find other ways to deliver broadband internet access to remote locations.

BT’s press release

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?