BT rural users to get fast internet

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The Independent Online

BT yesterday announced plans to start trials for a new high-speed internet service, via satellite, which would also be available to consumers in rural areas who cannot get a broadband service.

BT yesterday announced plans to start trials for a new high-speed internet service, via satellite, which would also be available to consumers in rural areas who cannot get a broadband service.

The trials, which are expected to start towards the end of next month, are scheduled to last for six months and will give users always-on internet access.

If successful, BT said the service could be made available throughout the UK including in rural areas that are beyond the reach of broadband and cable services.

"It is not true broadband but it will give much faster internet access to many people who could otherwise be denied," Paul Reynolds, the chief executive of BT Wholesale said.

BT said the wholesale price of the trial was likely to be less than £15 a month rental to service providers in addition to a one-off connection charge of less than £400 to cover the installation of equipment. The service providers involved in the trial will fix the charge for the retail customers.

The move comes a week after BT's new chief executive, Ben Verwaayen, unveiled his strategy for the telecoms giant, which will see the company focus more on broadband.

Last week it announced plans to start a mobile phone service to business customers as well as plans to create a "wireless local area network" for users to access the internet on their laptops in areas such as cafés and railway stations.

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