ISPA: Set trigger levels for all exchanges

The largest Internet trade association in the UK has called for trigger levels to be set for all exchanges

Trigger levels for broadband, no matter how high, should be set on all exchanges in order to give a better idea of much work is required as part of a drive to get the whole of Britain broadband-enabled, according to the UK's biggest Internet trade association.

BT's trigger levels are a measure of how many people in one area have to express an interest in getting broadband before it makes commercial sense to BT to upgrade their local telephone exchange.

The proposal is included in an evidence document submitted by the Internet service providers association (ISPA) to the Trade and Industry Select Committee's inquiry into broadband.

Matthew Hare, chairman of the ISPA broadband sub-group, said that widespread access to broadband would be a huge benefit to the economy and setting trigger levels for all exchanges would be a positive step towards 100 percent broadband coverage. In a statement, he said: "Trigger levels, no matter how high, for all the remaining exchanges would bring some transparency to the problem of achieving universal coverage, and therefore provide a better understanding of the task that lies ahead."

In addition, ISPA has suggested that communications regulator Ofcom should encourage the use of all available broadband technologies and implement new regulations in order to increase the momentum of broadband rollout: "Regulation will almost certainly be required in a market where a single operator continues to hold a significant market power. Ideally regulation over time will fade out and the market will become the best vehicle for successful broadband coverage," Hare said.