Eighty per cent of British homes will be able to connect to high-speed internet broadband services within the next three years, the ceo of BT Retail vowed Tuesday.

Still locked into its former monopolistic mindset the telecoms giant, goaded by the government and public pressure, has recently awoken to the fact that broadband is capable of providing a handsome return on investment – despite being less glamorous, ego-enhancing [and risky] than speculative global adventuring.

In addition to broadband, BT will also launch a new ‘midband’ fast internet product from next April. This will provide connection speeds of 128kbps [just twice the speed of a standard modem connection and identical to ISDN].

Unlike broadband it is not an ‘always on’ service and is, to all intents, a cosmetic repackaging of BT’s present ISDN product. Midband will be slightly cheaper than broadband and available to 97% per cent of the country – targeting remote areas where it is unprofitable to connect scattered properties to broadband.

BT Retail ceo Pierre Danon, addressing an ESummit staged by the government’s risibly branded Office of the E-Envoy, said that around 90% of the UK will be able to connect to broadband internet services by the middle of 2005. The company is currently in the midst of a £33 million ($52.11m; €52.0m) broadband advertising campaign.

Danon also fielded criticism of BT’s broadband pricing policy which he claimed is comparable to rates in other countries. He called on the government to cooperate with BT’s efforts by “smarter regulation” – without spelling out the meaning of that interesting phrase.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff