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ADSL rollout hits major milestone

Shadow home secretary David Davis MP wants 100 percent broadband coverage in his constituency, but that won't happen until more people help to pop BT's triggers
Written by Graeme Wearden, Contributor
The residents of Howden in East Yorkshire will be able to get high-speed Internet access down their phone line from Wednesday, when BT upgrades its two-thousandth local telephone exchange to support broadband.

The Howden exchange was ADSL-enabled after 200 local people registered their interest in getting broadband, following active campaigning that was supported by shadow home secretary and local MP David Davis. This was enough to hit the trigger level BT had given the area.

More than 800 local exchanges have now been broadband-enabled as a result of BT's trigger registration scheme on top of 1200 exchanges that had already been enabled, mainly in areas of high population density. The scheme launched in June 2002 and has attracted over half a million expressions of interest. ADSL is currently available to over 80 percent of the population.

Davis attended an event at Howden on Tuesday to mark the milestone, where he said it was crucial that everyone in the community had access to key technologies such as a high-speed Web link. He also congratulated the people whose campaigning work had helped to hit the trigger.

"I would like to offer special thanks to Linda Cressey, who gave up so much of her time to deliver campaign leaflets in the town. It is hardworking people like her who are driving the broadband revolution," said Davis. "However, the job is not over. I personally will not be happy until the other exchanges in my constituency are switched on to broadband and we have 100 percent coverage for Haltemprice and Howden," he added.

Earlier this month BT set thousands more trigger levels, which if achieved would take ADSL coverage to 99 percent of homes and businesses.

However, this is a challenging target. Five of the 2,300 latest trigger levels were for areas within Davis' constituency of Haltemprice and Howden.

The North Cave exchange has a trigger of 500 but only 129 registrations so far, while the North Newbald exchange has a trigger of 150 but just 29 registrations.

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