Cautious reception for '£80m wireless broadband project'

BT has expressed interest in what could be a ground-breaking scheme to bring high-speed wireless Internet access to the South-West

BT has played down suggestions that it will play a role in the creation of a major wireless broadband network in the South-West of England.

Reports last week claimed that BT, Intel and Radiant Networks are close to teaming up with six county councils to create the £80m network, which would use fixed wireless and Wi-Fi to bring broadband to areas where affordable high-speed Internet services are not currently available.

BT isn't ruling out involvement in such a scheme in the future, but the telco said on Monday that it believed the project was a long way from actually being implemented.

"It sounds very interesting, but we've not seen any detailed proposals so far," a BT spokesman told ZDNet UK, adding that BT would like to see more information if it became available.

According to e-Government Bulletin, the six councils -- Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire -- are keen to get an £80m grant from the European Investment Bank to fund the project.

A meeting was held to discuss the project back in March, and was attended by representatives of BT and the Department of Trade and Industry.

The councils are expected to publish a report by the end of April but have yet to to complete a feasibility study, said sources familiar with the issue.

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