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Country News - 2002

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BT falters on rural broadband ban
Monday 25 November 2002

EXTREME pressure from Government and other bodies is showing signs of causing a U-turn by British Telecom on its decision to limit broadband Internet services to mainly urban areas.

The telecoms giant hinted earlier this year that it would be installing broadband technology only in urban telephone exchanges, which caused an uproar from rural businesses fearing they would be unable to compete with urban rivals if deprived of broadband.

But over the weekend, says the Country Land and Business Association, signs began to emerge that BT was beginning to crack under the pressure and was considering taking broadband to the whole of the UK.

Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, has himself called for a countrywide system and the Department of Trade and Industry is also applying pressure. Some 1,400 businesses have joined the CLA's rural broadband campaign and the association's North West Director Douglas Chalmers said at the weekend:

"The events of the past few days have shown that the tide has turned. The importance of broadband in rural areas has, at last, been acknowledged by those with the resources and influence to actually make it happen."

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