BT is looking to recruit 1,000 Net users in Milton Keynes to test whether it can stretch the reach of its ADSL service.
At the moment, broadband is only available to people who are roughly within around 6km of a DSL- enabled exchange.
Now, BT wants to see if it can provide a 500k service to people beyond the current limits. If successful, BT estimates that more than a million homes and businesses - currently wired up to a DSL-enabled exchange but unable to access high-speed Net access - could hook up to broadband.
The suck-it-and-see trial kicks off in Milton Keynes on 1 June and is set to test broadband service performance on lines of up to 10km line length and possibly even further. If successful, the new extended reach service is expected to be available from the autumn.
The UK's dominant fixed line telco admits that not all those that take part in the trial will be successful. But it reckons that unless it tries, it will never know if it can make ADSL more widely available.
Milton Keynes was chosen for the trial because 18 per cent of people are out of reach of a DSL-enabled exchange - higher than anywhere else in the UK.
Said Nick Hubbard, co-ordinator of Milton Keynes Broadband Action Group, which has been working with BT on this: "We have hundreds of people desperate to get broadband who will be very eager to take part in the trial.
"Lack of broadband because of long lines is a very hot issue here in Milton Keynes and we’re very happy to be involved in this project which will not only solve some of the issues locally but for people with similar frustrations right across the country."
People in the 01908 code Milton Keynes area who are interested in being involved in the trial should register at www.bb4mk.org/bttrial. ®