RURAL BROADBAND - IF YOU DON'T ASK, YOU WON'T GET SAYS CLA

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) is urging businesses and residents in rural areas to register their interest in receiving ADSL broadband - the affordable way of getting fast Internet access. The CLA stresses that people must register their interest with an Internet Services Provider, who will then pass on the figures to BT. Full information on how to do this is available on the BT web site www.bt.com/openworld.

ADSL is only obtainable through BT and yet 4,400 out of 5,500 exchanges are unable to offer broadband. BT will enable these exchanges only when sufficient demand has been proven.

But the CLA believes that the demand already exists and that it is not apathy on the part of the UK public, rather the mechanism for recording the demand that is at fault.

Dr Charles Trotman, Rural Economy Adviser for the CLA says: "BT has known for a long time that people want faster internet access. But its system for registering interest only started on July 1 so we are advising anyone who requested broadband before then to re-register. The registration process is not as simple as it could be, so make sure you follow these two steps:

1) Before you register, you need to find out if your local exchange is enabled. You can do this by visiting www.bt.com/openworld and checking your telephone number.
2) If you cannot currently benefit from ADSL, you will need to register your interest in the service with an ISP who will then pass on your details to BT. Details of suitable ISPs are on the BT web site, or you can ask your existing ISP. But remember that BT will not record your demand directly.

The CLA is also to host a meeting at its Belgrave Square, London premises and is inviting other broadband campaigning organisations to attend. Dr Trotman added: "Only by harnessing all the support these various organisations have gathered can we demonstrate the true demand for broadband. Then BT must act on the demand and broadband rural Britain before it's too late".