BT enlists sponsors for rural ADSL trial

'Community Broadband'

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BT Wholesale is to run a series of trials beginning this autumn which could pave the way to bring ADSL to rural Britain.

The "Community Broadband Concept" trial adopts new technology and a fresh business approach in a bid to deliver ADSL to areas where it is currently deemed not commercially viable to upgrade an exchange.

The trials will use new broadband ADSL exchange equipment that can serve as few as 16 end users per exchange, making it ideal for areas where demand is limited.

However, end users will not have a choice of ISP as only one will service all 16 users.

Those taking part (Highlands and Islands Enterprise; Gwynedd County Council; Denbighshire County Council, together with IT consultants The ITC (UK) Ltd; the East of England Development Agency; The New Forest Business Partnership; and Omagh District Council) will team up with a service provider to aggregate demand, source funding and deliver service.

Those agencies and councils taking part will also have to stump up £7,000 towards the six-month trial.

Prices for a full service - should the trial prove successful - have yet to be set. ®

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