(February 2003) Do You Want Broadband Internet?

High-speed broadband internet access at the Swalcliffe exchange could be nearer than we expect – if we say we want it. The latest information we have from BT is that their target for upgrading the exchange to support high-speed broadband Internet access (ADSL) is a total 94 subscribers registering interest. 50 have already done this, so we’re more than halfway there. Since there are also 2 schools and the surgery on the exchange, BT may be even keener to get the upgrade done. If we want to avoid remaining the poor relations of town homes and businesses, let’s see if we can register enough demand with BT for this to happen sooner rather than later for once.

BT is encouraging potential subscribers to register, but via an Internet Service Provider (ISP) rather than directly with them. To do this, one nevertheless starts with BT: go to www.bt.com/broadband, choose the green Getting Broadband tab at the top of the page and then choose the Broadband Suppliers link in the second line of the page. There’s a Reistering interest section in the lower left, through which you can register via an ISP of your choice. (The BT page also has an Availability & Registration tab, but it’s a longer process if you follow this. First, you will be asked to enter your telephone number, then you’ll get a discouraging message saying “It is unlikely that there will be enough demand to cover the cost of upgrading your exchange”. However, if you then follow the subsequent links “See how many people have registered an interest in ADSL at your exchange”, “What to do next” and “Find out which Suppliers you can register with”, you’ll end up at the same Broadband Suppliers page.)

Most ISPs seem to be pricing broadband access at about £25 / month for unlimited, “always-on” access over normal telephone lines. The line can be used for both voice calls and internet access at the same time. This is much cheaper and more satisfactory, than the satellite broadband service that BT has recently been marketing through leaflets.