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Groups Welcome BTs ADSL Triggers
By: MarkJ - 20 November, 2003 (1:26 PM)

The Access to Broadband Campaign (ABC) and Community Broadband Network (CBN) have both issued press releases welcoming BTs announcement to set trigger levels for a further 2,300 exchanges:

Community Groups Welcome BT Announcement

Groups representing community broadband initiatives welcome BT’s announcement to set trigger levels for a further 2300 exchanges.

Simon Berry, Chair of the newly formed Community Broadband Network, said: “This is excellent news. If BT deliver on this it means community groups can concentrate on driving up demand to meet trigger levels, rather than figuring out how to develop alternative means of provision all by themselves. Even more positively, by working with partners like the Phone Coop, they can earn revenues for their communities when ADSL services are installed by BT or other providers.

Since Stephen Timms announced the forthcoming launch of CBN in October, nearly 100 local groups have registered their interest in joining the network. Some projects, like Calder Connect (www.c-3.coop) based in Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire, are already reselling ADSL services, generating income to support wireless provision in outlying areas.

Brian Condon, CEO of the Access to Broadband Campaign welcomed BT’s announcement commenting: "It means that we know where BT stands. In the longer term though we will need much higher speeds than ADSL can provide particularly for SMEs and for true broadband applications such as music, video downloads and video conferencing. We all need to keep the pressure on the whole industry to ensure affordable, available broadband in the UK. The job's not done just because BT makes a nice announcement".

CBN, ABC and local community groups are working hard to deliver broadband in areas that are difficult for the big telcos to reach economically. Operating to a public interest agenda, local projects have blazed the trail for service delivery and demand stimulation. For example Alston Cybermoor (www.cybermoor.org) in Cumbria has connected nearly 30% of local households to its wireless network. During a visit on 12th November Stephen Timms described the initiative as ‘a beacon for other communities … trying to develop their own broadband solutions.'

Noting BT Group Chief Executive Ben Verwaayen’s comments that ‘many of these trigger levels are very challenging’ and ‘We are critically dependent on public partnerships to stimulate demand and to intervene with support’, CBN and ABC plan to encourage local groups to work with BT and other providers. The aim is to ensure that public funds are used cost effectively and for broad community benefit.

These projects are social enterprises,” said Berry. “Co-operatives and other forms of social enterprise have an excellent track record in providing much-needed services to hard pressed communities. Our aim is to work with the telcos and the public sector to guarantee 100% broadband provision throughout the UK - and much higher levels of take up.

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