BT inspired by copper tax, may extend network


BT has heeded the call of Digital Britain’s drive to extend high speed connectivity and is believed to be considering expanding its own network to provide 90% coverage of residential premises.
BT CEO Ian Livingston revealed to the Financial Times that the carrier was now very interested in expanding its network capabilities following the government’s proposed broadband tax.
He said that the potential subsidy allowed BT to investigate exceeding its existing commitment to provide a high speed fixed network to 40% of homes by 2012.
The Digital Britain report proposed the introduction of an annual £6 levy on all homes and businesses with copper phone lines to help finance networks in rural areas. A target to cover 90% of homes and businesses high-speed access by 2017 was also set.
BT's existing fiber roll out plans will only reach 40% of homes by 2012 at an estimated cost of £1.5 billion. Analysts suggest a further £3 billion would be required for the carrier to extend to 90% of the population.
Meanwhile BT has secured former chief executive of BSkyB Tony Ball as its latest board member joining as non-executive director. Ball was CEO of BSkyB from 1999 to 2003 and will take up his role at BT from July 16.
Over the past four years he has held the chairman role at Kabel Deutschland which operates cable TV networks in Germany. 
Ball said “the convergence of the computer and the television, entertainment and communications has only just begun and it is clear BT will have an important part to play in shaping the future. I am looking forward to being part of that journey.”