By: MarkJ - 30 December, 2010 (9:01 AM)
BT FTTC-FTTP UK superfast fibre optic broadband cablebt fttc uk superfast broadbandThe sometimes controversial Race to Infinity campaign from UK ISP BT Retail, which seeks to gauge how much demand exists for its new "super-fast" ( FTTC / FTTP ) broadband services, will officially come to an end tomorrow (31st December 2010). The campaign looks set to reward five areas with a free superfast broadband upgrade, although so far only 20 telephone exchanges out of well over 2,000 potential candidates could qualify.

According to BT, the top five telephone exchange areas with the largest percentage of votes (must have at least 1,000 votes) will benefit from a super-fast service upgrade by 2012. Some have criticised the system for setting such a high threshold, which automatically excludes a significant portion of rural areas.

The ISP is also pledging to engage with any area not winning the competition where at least 75% of homes and businesses have voted (minimum of 1,000 votes) for super-fast broadband, yet so far just 6 telephone exchanges have reached that point.
BT's Race to Infinity Top 10 (Most Votes)
1. Whitchurch (Hants) (Votes: 2331)
2. Madingley (Votes: 2069)
3. Burley-in-Wharfedale (Votes: 1979)
4. Caxton (Votes: 1925)
5. Malvern (Votes: 1834)
6. Innerleithen (Votes: 1832)
7. Barrow-In-Furness (Votes: 1611)
8. Market Drayton (Votes: 1410)
9. Baschurch (Votes: 1384)
10. Lindfield (Sussex) (Votes: 1339)
BT's Race to Infinity Top 5 (Highest Proportion of Votes)
1. Blewbury (Votes: 1227 / Percentage of all Connections: 99.3%)
2. Madingley (Votes: 2069 / Percentage of all Connections: 97%)
3. Baschurch (Votes: 1384 / Percentage of all Connections: 96.6%)
4. Caxton (Votes: 1925 / Percentage of all Connections: 95.5%)
5. Whitchurch (Hants) (Votes: 2331 / Percentage of all Connections: 94.7%)
It should be noted that Innerleithen follows close behind Whitchurch, with 1832 votes and a percentage of approximately 1% less. As a result the 5th position is by no means secure and a few last minute votes could change everything.

Interestingly everything below the top six, as a proportion of votes versus all available local connections under a single telephone exchange, drops to below the 75% threshold required for BT's further assistance. For example, 7th place Capel (Surrey) holds 1299 votes but a percentage of almost 68%, which apparently isn't enough to gain BT's interest.

We certainly can't wait to see which exchanges BT picks for its upgrades, which will include submissions from several other ISPs and not just the 'Race to Infinity' campaign (an example). Some recent reports have also pointed out that BT's campaign could be abused by multiple votes, so we certainly hope that they do some proper validity checking first.

UPDATE 1st January 2011

Winning exchanges to be announced on Monday 3rd Jan.
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