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The 'Faster' Broadband Digital Divide
By: MarkJ - 28 August, 2003 (2:45 PM)

While many still complain about the lack of broadband coverage in general, it's now feared that the introduction of BTs new 1Mbps service could create a second digital divide because even fewer will be able to access it:

This technical limitation, which is more severe than the existing restraint on the availability of 512Kbps ADSL, means that more UK residents could soon find that their location has a big bearing on the speed of Internet connection available to them. IPStream Home1000 will only work on a phone line that is no longer than 3.5km.

Today's 512Kbps ADSL packages work over a longer distance, because they are "rate adaptive", which pushes their maximum range up to 6km (it was previously 5.5km). This means that some 97% of homes within a broadband-enabled area can get the technology. IPStream Home1000, though, is not rate adaptive.

A BT spokesman told ZDNet UK that this means that "approximately 70% of households within enabled exchange areas" will be able to receive 1Mb broadband down their phone line. He added that he wasn't aware of any plans to add rate adaption to the IPStream Home1000 product.

The news is unlikely to cause the same stir as the lack of any ADSL in the first place has, not least because 1Mbps could be regarded as somewhat of a luxury item. However there will still be many that could be angered by it.

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