Telecoms managers have called for Government action to stop the creation of a "broadband underclass". The Communications Management Association's (CMA) call followed last week's announcement by Oftel that only 17% of exchanges will be accessible to BT's rivals by next April.
David Harrington, director general of the CMA, said, "We will see 60% of the population receiving high-speed digital services by next July. The issue is what will happen to the 40% that isn't being served - what will happen to them? I think we're going to see a broadband underclass."
The CMA believes high-speed digital access should be subject to a universal service provision regulation.