BT wants public cash to fill broadband ‘notspots’

New BT technology will bring a 2Mbps connection to rural areas, but the company wants government funding to pay for it.


BT has proposed plans to fill broadband "notspots" across the UK, as long as the government puts up the cash.

The telecoms company's Openreach division has piloted its Broadband Enabling Technology (BET) over two sites in Scotland and claimed that it can deliver a stable ADSL broadband service over lines 12km from the exchange.

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This more than doubles the current limit of five kilometres and can give up to 2Mbps when bonded with a copper line, which could help the government achieve targets for everyone to receive this level of broadband by 2012, as laid out in the Digital Britain plan.

BT claimed it could reach 140,000 of the 166,000 notspots with BET but it wants the government to dip its hand into the public purse to fund the project.

John Small, managing director of service delivery for BT's Openreach, said in a statement: "We're really excited about the potential of BET to extend broadband to the remaining not-spots."

He added: "We're keen to work with local and regional authorities and other bodies with funding to discuss how the technology can be rolled out to their areas."

A spokesperson from the Department for Business, Skills and Innovation, the base of Minister for Digital Britain Stephen Timms, told IT PRO: "We set out in our Digital Britain report plans for ensuring that homes and businesses right across the country have access to a quality minimum level of service, as well as the development of faster networks."

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The added: "We obviously would welcome initiatives which improve digital inclusion."

In addition to the two sites in Dingwall and Inverness, BT is trialling BET at eight more sites starting this month: Twyford in Berkshire, Badsey in Worcestershire, Llanfyllin Powys in Wales, Leyland in Lancashire, Ponteland in Northumberland, Wigton in Cumbria, Horsham in West Sussex and Wymondham in Norfolk.

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