Three more local exchanges to get ADSL

BT's pre-registration scheme may have its critics, but it has now brought the promise of broadband to 17 local exchanges

BT said on Monday that three more local exchanges will join its broadband network by February 2003 -- taking to 17 the number of exchanges that have been promised ADSL thanks to local interest.

Bradford-on-Avon in Wiltshire, Tottington near Manchester and Danbury in Essex will all be upgraded to offer ADSL after ISPs confirmed to BT that there is sufficient demand in each area.

BT set "trigger levels" for each exchange earlier this year, after calculating how many broadband customers would be needed to make an upgrade economically viable. These trigger levels were set at 200 expressions of interest for Tottington and Danbury, and 400 for Bradford-on-Avon.

Each area hit their trigger levels in October, which meant that ISPs then had up to six weeks to get firm pledges, or advance orders, from three quarters of those people who has said they would like to get broadband.

According to BT, this was achieved quickly. "Tottingdon and Danbury both got enough advance orders within two weeks, while Bradford-on-Avon took just over three weeks. They're all now going into BT's ADSL build programme," said a BT Wholesale spokesman.

A fixed date for when customers will actually get broadband has not been set, but it is expected to be early February next year.

This takes to 17 the number of exchanges that will now get broadband thanks to BT's pre-registration scheme, which recorded its first success with Todmorden just three weeks ago.

The process is not without its critics, though. BT also said that Knaresborough, in North Yorkshire, had failed to achieve enough advance orders within the six-week time slot, and admitted that it doesn't know why.

AOL UK has suggested that the complexity of the system may be to blame, but it is also possible that some people may have faked hundreds of expressions of interest in an attempt to get broadband to their area.

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