BT made a further 22 exchanges broadband-enabled yesterday, taking coverage in the UK to 90% of the population.
BT Wholesale chief executive Paul Reynolds said: “This is a stunning achievement. Nine out of 10 people are now connected up to a broadband exchange and we’ve announced plans to get us to near universal coverage by next summer – well ahead of earlier predictions.
“Our pioneering approach to broadband rollout has been widely recognised, most recently with the OECD rural broadband report putting Britain ahead of the pack for broadband availability compared to the other G7 nations.
“BT has put the UK at 90 per cent ADSL coverage today with our closest competitor countries in the G7 aiming for this level by the end of 2004. By that stage we’ll be past 95 percent and well on the way to topping 99 per cent by summer 2005.”
You can bet that the last 10% will be the hardest – some of of the remaining units are the oldest, remotest exchanges, not nice easy ones in the middle of cities. However, BT is aiming for 99.6% coverage by summer 2005. This represents an enormous amount of work still to be carried out, however: 2,652 exchanges are broadband-enabled, with 2,366 in the programme for next year.