Page last updated at 13:41 GMT, Monday, 30 November 2009

BT boss has only broadband home

Sir Michael Rake
BT says Sir Michael is taking part in a trial

British Telecom (BT) has admitted its chairman is the only person in a village on the Oxfordshire-Buckinghamshire border with broadband.

Other people in Hambleden were told they could not have broadband because of the distance to the exchange.

BT said Sir Michael Rake's connection was part of a trial of new technology, and no company could afford to provide broadband to the area.

One local resident said it was not fair and that Sir Michael should resign.

'Preferential treatment'

In a statement, BT wrote: "Trials of new technologies are often conducted among a company's own staff so there is nothing unusual in this situation.

"BT has learnt a lot through the trial the chairman participated in and hopefully those lessons will benefit the residents of Hambleden in due course.

"We have sympathy for the residents of Hambleden.

"Several companies actually supply broadband from the exchange serving their village but the lines between the village and the exchange are simply too long to support a broadband service."

Gary Ashworth, who lives in Hambleden, said: "If I was a BT shareholder I'd be upset... I think one can live with it, if it's a level playing field it's not a problem.

"It's this preferential treatment that Sir Michael Rake has had that's upset most of the villagers."

In May research commissioned by the BBC found that about three million homes in the UK have no broadband or speeds of less than two megabits per second (2Mbps).

The government has promised to provide all homes in the UK with speeds of at least 2Mbps by 2012.

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