Neighbours angry at BT chairman’s broadband connection


A BT chairman has managed to upset his neighbours by being pushed to the front of the queue for a broadband connection.

It may only be a 1Mbps connection, but Sir Michael Rake, who lives in Hambleden Valley, Oxfordshire, has angered other residents by being included in the Broadband Enabling Technology (BET) trial while they are all forced to wait to be connected.

The trial enables homes to get 1Mbps connections 2Mbps with bonded lines up to 12km from their telephone exchange but The Telegraph has reported only Sir Rake has been included in the trial in that area. Others requesting to join the scheme have been turned away, saying no more will be added until some time next year.

BT defended itself with a spokesperson telling IT PRO: "Trials of new technologies are often conducted among a company's own staff so there is nothing unusual in this situation. BT has learnt a lot through the trial the chairman participated in and hopefully those lessons will benefit the residents of Hambleden in due course."

However, the company has expressed sympathy to the residents and the spokesperson continued: "Several companies actually supply broadband from the exchange serving their village but the lines between the village and the exchange are simply too long to support a broadband service. This is a technical challenge that neither BT nor any other company has been able to overcome on a commercial basis."

"The government has indicated that funds will be made available to help the small number of locations such as Hambleden that cannot access broadband and so BT hopes to be able to find a solution for the village with such support."

The connection speeds may seem slow but this trial is seen as very important. With the promise of 2Mbps broadband connections for all by 2012 in the Digital Britain report, rural areas are proving to be the most difficult so technologies like this could help solve the problem.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.