RURAL businesses, politicians and voluntary organisations are today celebrating victory in their two year long campaign to persuade BT to build broadband technology into hundreds of small country telephone exchanges.
BT at first refused to install such technology because, they said, the income derived would not cover costs – but this led to a spirited campaign which spread from one-man businesses to the House of Lords.
The uptake of broadband has been much higher than expected, however, and BT climbed down yesterday to announce that it would update more than 1,100 rural exchanges, bringing broadband within reach of 99.6% of the UK’s population by summer next year.
One of the fiercest campaigners was the Country Land and Business Association, whose North West Director Douglas Chalmers commented: “This is the announcement we have been waiting for.”
However, the CLA estimates that 13% of its members will still be unable to use the new service because of their remoteness – and promises to continue negotiations with BT until everyone is connected.