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BT expresses sympathy as villagers slam chairman's broadband

Karl Flinders

Villagers in Hambledon, near Henley-on-Thames, are outraged because a local resident who happens to be the chairman of BT is the only person in the village with broadband.

BT said its chairman Sir Michael Rake is taking part in an internal technology trial, dubbed the The Broadband Extension Trial, which aims to test broadband connections to corporate networks.

A BT spokesman said the company was sympathetic with residents, but only an employee could take part in a test like this.

"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 Hambledon in due course," said BT.

BT also said the telephone exchange in the village has been enabled with broadband by BT and other companies, but no company has provided a service to the village. "We have sympathy for the residents of Hambleden," said BT.

"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," said BT.

BT said this could soon change. "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."


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