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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 April, 2004, 11:35 GMT 12:35 UK
Rural villages' broadband promise
Computer cable
Broadband PC users are permanently connected to the web
BT has announced it hopes to provide broadband access to every home in Wales by the end of next year.

The new pledge comes a day after it said the technology would reach 95.5% of Welsh households by the summer of 2005.

That means that many rural areas dotted all over Wales will still be left out by next summer.

But the telecommunications giant now says it believes it can reach 100% coverage a few months after that.

Among the communities which will still be left out of the broadband revolution by next summer are Rhiw in Gwynedd, Llangurig in Powys, Bryneglwys in Denbighshire and Skenfrith in Monmouthshire.
Many people here are self-employed and broadband is very necessary to every business
Powys councillor Margaret Morris

Broadband - which allows large amounts of data to be sent and received at high speed down lines - is regarded as essential by many businesses and individuals using computers.

It is most commonly associated with a far faster way of connecting computers to the internet than is possible through the conventional method using standard telephone networks.

A BT Wales spokesman told the BBC Wales News website: "By working together we truly believe we can achieve our target of 100% coverage by the end of 2005.

"BT has been talking to a lot of agencies - local government, the assembly government and anybody and everybody with an interest in broadband to overcome the obstacles."

But he said to achieve the goal, they needed to overcome logistical and technical problems.

On Tuesday BT announced it would roll out broadband to a further 135 exchanges in Wales in addition to the 131 exchanges the company has already built.

It is the smallest 35 exchanges that will miss out.

Powys county councillor Margaret Morris, who represents Paincastle, one of the areas left out of the summer 2005 plan, said: "The people of Paincastle will be disappointed to be classified as second rate and this is not good for the country areas.

'Local heroes'

"Paincastle is very close to Hay-on-Wye, which was one of the first places to sign up to broadband.

"Many people here are self-employed and broadband is very necessary to every business, so it is a great shame.

"I shall be encouraging BT to cover this most important part of Wales."

By working together we truly believe we can achieve our target of 100% coverage by the end of 2005.
BT
Ann Beynon, BT's national manager for Wales, said: "The broadband registration scheme has been a powerful tool for us in Wales to match investment to demand and its fantastic success, with the support of local campaigners, set the way for other countries to follow.

"Now, as we move into more and more rural areas of Wales and we have a clearer picture of growing demand, there are real benefits to be gained through a planned programme roll-out.

"The impact local campaigners have had in Wales has been phenomenal - their efforts have meant take-up rates for broadband on trigger exchanges have exceeded those for exchanges that were enabled before the registration scheme.

"These local heroes have helped change the market and this in turn has contributed to our decision to take this approach.

Welsh e-minister Andrew Davies said: "This is a major step forward to getting Wales online and I congratulate BT for making this investment in new technology.

"It shows there is far more mass market demand for broadband in Wales than BT realised when it launched the trigger registration scheme at end of last year."




SEE ALSO:
BT break-up 'on Ofcom's agenda'
26 Apr 04  |  Business
Hidden costs of budget broadband
04 Mar 04  |  Technology
Rivals complain over new BT rates
31 Mar 04  |  Business
BT fires latest shot in price war
24 Mar 04  |  Business
Telecom firm 'declares war on BT'
21 Mar 04  |  Business


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