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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 December, 2003, 08:52 GMT
BT tunes into 'radio broadband'
Country road
Many rural areas are too far away from ADSL exchanges
BT is testing a new way to offer broadband to rural areas that cannot get it by cable or over the phone line.

Four areas have been chosen to test the technology which uses radio signals to transmit a fast, always-on connection.

"Their experience could help BT and our partners to extend broadband and all its benefits to many more communities across the UK," said BT Retail's boss, Pierre Danon.

The trials are part of BT's pledge to offer broadband to all of UK by 2005.

Through the air

The 105 households in the trials, from Ballingry in Fife, Scotland, Pwllheli in Wales, Porthleven in Cornwall and Campsie in Northern Ireland, will try out the technology for three months.

The broadband connection will offer a similar speed to ADSL, (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line), which is usually 512Kbps.

RJ45 plug
BT says it wants broadband for everyone
The technology being tested sends the broadband signal using radio waves, without the need for wires, similar to wi-fi technology.

The signal travels from a base station to a home computer through a low-power antenna.

It is similar to a satellite dish, but is smaller and diamond-shaped and fits onto the side of a house.

Out of reach

Mr Danon reaffirmed BT's commitment to reaching 100% broadband coverage for every UK community by 2005.

"We want to make broadband services available to everyone in the UK, whether they live in town centres or rural communities should be irrelevant.

"The benefits of broadband are extensive and we are working hard to make this target a reality."

The trial areas are among those throughout the UK which cannot get traditional ADSL broadband.

This is because either they are too far from ADSL-enabled telephone exchanges, or because the "trigger level" has not been reached.

BT upgrades a telephone exchange for ADSL when a trigger level is achieved, which means a certain number of people say they want it.

Currently, there are 600 small telephone exchanges which have not even had this level set, which account for about 100,000 households.

BT announced last month that it had set triggers for 2,300 more exchanges across the UK, potentially covering two million homes and businesses.

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11 Dec 03  |  Technology
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14 Nov 03  |  Technology
Broadband heads for islands
06 Oct 03  |  Scotland
Making rural broadband a reality
17 Oct 03  |  Technology
All of UK on broadband 'by 2005'
17 Nov 03  |  Technology
Rural dwellers 'to bridge digital divide'
22 Jul 03  |  Northern Ireland
DIY approach urged for rural broadband
30 Oct 03  |  Technology

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