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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 April, 2004, 15:44 GMT 16:44 UK
BT broadband to reach almost all
Computer cable
Almost all UK properties will be able to go broadband by summer 2005
BT has said it aims to make high-speed broadband services available to almost all homes and businesses in the UK by the middle of next year.

It says that by summer 2005 the latest ADSL broadband technology will be fitted to 1,128 of its exchanges.

BT says this will bring broadband to exchanges serving 99.6% of UK homes and businesses.

But some rural premises will still miss out, as they would need to be within three miles of an exchange's range.

Alison Ritchie, BT chief broadband officer, said: "Together with our plans to extend the reach of broadband from a local exchange, this takes us significantly closer to universal availability."

Strong demand

The roll-out programme will be announced in detail by the end of June and will help BT bring forward some published broadband switch-on dates.

BT said it would continue to work with both the public sector and private organisations, to find ways to deliver broadband to those homes and businesses that are still due to miss out.

Since July 2002 BT has been matching its broadband investment according to demand, by using a so-called registration scheme.

So far, more than 880,000 individual registrations have led to the upgrade of more than 2,000 exchanges, taking broadband availability from 66% in July 2002 to more than 90% now.

BT said it now has a clearer picture of demand, which has enabled the more systematic, planned, roll-out.

During the last 18 months, BT, which still has 70% of the fixed-line phone market, has been trying to put broadband at the forefront of its strategy to modernise its business.

On Monday BT said it was both "disappointed" and "surprised" by reports that it might be split in two by the telecoms regulator Ofcom.

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