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Tuesday, 19 November, 2002, 16:34 GMT
E-envoy left in the slow lane
Tony Blair at the e-summit in London
Blair backs expansion of broadband
The man in charge of getting government services online and persuading Britons to connect the internet has admitted that he cannot get broadband.

Andrew Pinder, the UK's e-Envoy told BBC News Online that broadband is not available in his home area of south Shropshire.

He is not the only high-profile person attending the government's e-summit on broadband that has been bypassed by the high-speed internet revolution.

BT board director Pierre Danon said that he too was unable to get broadband. His local exchange has been wired up for broadband access but his home is just simply too far away.

Impatient evangelist

Andrew Pinder, the former Inland Revenue technology boss, was appointed as the government's electronic evangelist in February 2001.

E-Envoy Andrew Pinder
Pinder: Impatient for broadband
In a forum with BBC News Online, he said he was encouraged by the rising number of people taking up broadband. But he is not going to be one of them.

"I always want to get it out to areas like my own for example, south Shropshire, a rural area where we don't have broadband and barely have Channel Five television," he said.

"I'm as anxious as anyone. I think there are some encouraging steps. We're moving quite quickly."

Only two-thirds of the UK is currently covered by ADSL. The remaining third are mostly residents in small towns and rural areas.

In the past a local exchange has only been ADSL-enabled when an area reaches the point at which BT deems it economically viable to provide the technology.

But BT has now announced plans to make high-speed connections available to most of the population.

It expects that 90% of the country will have access to broadband services by mid-2005.


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See also:

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