MORE RURAL communities will be able to access high-speed internet services following BT‘s decision to increase the number of its exchanges with broadband connections.

Until now the technology was only available in more populated areas or at telephone exchanges where a certain proportion of users had signalled their willingness to consider signing up for broadband.

But BT is now planning to roll out broadband to cover over 99% of the population by summer 2005.

Charles Trotman, rural economy adviser at the Country Land and Business Association, said: “This is the announcement we have been waiting for.”

But Mr Trotman said he was concerned about the estimated 0.5m people who would still be excluded, including about 13% of the CLA‘s members.