BT expands broadband-trigger scheme

Good news for more than one hundred areas trapped on the wrong side of Britain's broadband divide as BT's latest ADSL triggers are set lower than expected

BT announced details of a further swathe of broadband trigger levels on Monday, giving hope to 102 communities that currently aren't served by its ADSL network. These trigger levels are a measure of how many area residents need to register an interest in broadband before BT will upgrade the local exchange. Over half of the triggers are between 300 and 400 registrations, lower than generally expected, and just one local exchange -- Hollinswood in Shropshire -- was unlucky enough to receive a trigger of 750. BT had not set trigger levels for these 102 exchanges earlier because it either hadn't completed calculating the cost of installing ADSL, or had carried out an assessment and decided that the cost would be too great to make it financially viable. The list includes Essex's Chafford Hundred, which had achieved nearly 500 registrations despite not having been set a trigger level at all. Having been given a trigger level of 450, Chafford has now passed the test and been added to BT's ADSL rollout programme. A BT spokesman explained that as some of the costs associated with upgrading to ADSL are falling, exchanges that once were uneconomic to upgrade are now becoming more viable. The total cost of upgrading an exchange is still formidable, and according to BT it will range from £200,000 to £500,000 for each of the 102 exchanges on the list. Some BT critics have claimed that its trigger levels are simply too high and don't accurately represent the raw cost of upgrading an exchange, but the telco is keen to sink these suggestions -- including one argument that just 50 broadband users are needed per exchange. "If their numbers added up then we'd have done it (upgraded more exchanges)," insisted the BT Wholesale spokesman. He also pointed out that local-loop unbundling means that any company can install ADSL kit in an exchange and offer broadband services. The primary cost is usually the expense of installing the bandwidth needed to connect the exchange to BT's main network and the Internet. "Backhaul is the pretty much always the largest single cost of upgrading an exchange. In addition, there is the cost of the DSL kit, and the expense of accommodation and infrastructure -- building new rooms where required and installing air conditioning and cooling systems," the spokesman explained. BT's latest trigger levels: Exchange County Trigger level
BOVINGDON Hertfordshire 300
BRENCHLEY Kent 300
CANFORD CLIFFS Dorset 300
COMBERTON Cambridgeshire 300
FORDHAM (ESSEX) Essex 300
HERMITAGE Berkshire 300
LITTLE WALTHAM Essex 300
MARKYATE Hertfordshire 300
MELBOURN Cambridgeshire 300
NEWPORT-ON-TAY Fife 300
ROADE Northamptonshire 300
SILSOE Bedfordshire 300
SMALLFIELD Surrey 300
STOKE MANDEVILLE Buckinghamshire 300
STRENSALL North Yorkshire 300
STUDLEY Warwickshire 300
SUTTON VALENCE Kent 300
WADHURST East Sussex 300
WHITCHURCH (HANTS) Hampshire 300
ASKERN South Yorkshire 350
BATTLE East Sussex 350
BRIGHTLINGSEA Essex 350
BUNTINGFORD Hertfordshire 350
COGGESHALL Essex 350
COLLINGHAM BRIDGE West Yorkshire 350
COXTIE GREEN Essex 350
FARINGDON Oxfordshire 350
GLENROTHES SOUTH Fife 350
HADDENHAM (BUCKS) Buckinghamshire 350
HARTLEY WINTNEY Hampshire 350
HAWKINGE Kent 350
HENLEY-IN-ARDEN Warwickshire 350
HILLSBOROUGH Northern Ireland 350
HULLBRIDGE Essex 350
KIRRIEMUIR Tayside 350
LANGTON Kent 350
LISS Hampshire 350
MAGHERA Northern Ireland 350
ONGAR Essex 350
RANDALSTOWN Northern Ireland 350
SHEPSHED Leicestershire 350
WHEATLEY Oxfordshire 350
WHITBURN Tyne & Wear 350
WING Buckinghamshire 350
WINSLOW Buckinghamshire 350
BANCHORY Grampian 400
BOARS HILL Oxfordshire 400
BOROUGHBRIDGE North Yorkshire 400
COXHOE Durham 400
DONAGHADEE Northern Ireland 400
EGREMONT Cumbria 400
ERISWELL Suffolk 400
HETHERSETT Norfolk 400
HOLYMOORSIDE Derbyshire 400
LATCHINGDON Essex 400
MAGOR Gwent 400
MARKFIELD Leicestershire 400
MEASHAM Leicestershire 400
MELBOURNE Humberside 400
MIDDLETON CHENEY Northamptonshire 400
MOIRA Northern Ireland 400
MONIFIETH Tayside 400
NEWINGTON Kent 400
ROWLANDS GILL Tyne & Wear 400
ROYSTON South Yorkshire 400
SACRISTON Durham 400
SEDGEFIELD Durham 400
SENGHENYDD Mid Glamorgan 400
STOTFOLD Bedfordshire 400
WARRENPOINT Northern Ireland 400
WIRKSWORTH Derbyshire 400
WOTTON UNDER EDGE Gloucestershire 400
YELVERTON Devon 400
ADLINGTON Lancashire 450
AMBLE Northumberland 450
AMLWCH Gwynedd 450
BARTON ON HUMBER Humberside 450
BURNHAM ON CROUCH Essex 450
CATTERICK CAMP North Yorkshire 450
CHAFFORD Essex 450
CLAYDON Suffolk 450
CREDITON Devon 450
CRIEFF Tayside 450
FERNDALE Mid Glamorgan 450
KIMBERLEY Nottinghamshire 450
MAUCHLINE Strathclyde 450
PAKENHAM Suffolk 450
SEATON Devon 450
COWDENBEATH Fife 500
GLASTONBURY Somerset 500
HEBDEN BRIDGE West Yorkshire 500
MIDDLETON ON SEA West Sussex 500
BISHOPS CLEEVE Gloucestershire 550
CHIRK Clwyd 550
SKELMANTHORPE West Yorkshire 550
SLAITHWAITE West Yorkshire 550
SOMERSHAM Cambridgeshire 550
STAPLEHURST Kent 550
TIPTREE Essex 550
WESTBURY (WILTS) Wiltshire 550
ASH GREEN Kent 700
HOLLINSWOOD Shropshire 750


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