On Monday (4th October 2010), BT announced Race to Infinity, a competition allowing members of the public and businesses the chance to vote for superfast fibre broadband to be installed at their exchange.
What is the Race to Infinity?
The Race to Infinity is a nationwide competition run by BT whereby members of the public and local businesses can vote to get our superfast fibre broadband, BT Infinity, in their exchange. The top 5 exchanges with the most registered interest as a % of the total telephone exchange size on 31st December will be added to BT’s fibre rollout plan. Exchanges need to get a minimum of 1,000 votes in order to enter the race. People will be able to register their interest via the web site (www.bt.com/racetoinfinity) from 4th October to 31st December 2010.
So after the race has finished, BT will upgrade the top 5 exchanges with the most votes registered as a percentage of the total telephone exchange size. But each exchange would need at least 1,000 votes in order to enter the race.
The Isle of Purbeck has 4 exchanges, located in Corfe Castle, Studland, Swanage and Worth Matravers (5 if you count Wareham). This would mean each exchange would be racing against each other, with Swanage and Wareham having a tactical advantage over the rest as they have a lot more people and businesses being served by their exchanges. Corfe, Studland and Worth have a limited number of residents and business with Studland and Worth falling way short of even the required 1,000 votes to enter.
Statistics from www.racetoinfinity.bt.com and postcode links from www.samknows.com.
So if Swanage or Wareham managed to get a high percentage then they could possibly be in for a chance, but I suspect Corfe will struggle to even get close to the required 1,000 mark. Interestingly I wonder what BT would do if two towns, one say with a larger exchange ended up with exactly the same percentage — would BT decide to upgrade the larger town in favour of a better profit margin?
To be honest, I feel the whole idea of a race is a bit weird and farcical. BT have already said that most large exchanges would be upgraded over the next two years and smaller exchanges will follow after 2012. There is currently no date set for any of the exchanges in Purbeck though, which would mean we will end up sandwiched between Poole/Bournemouth and Weymouth/Dorchester who already have or will have super-fast broadband by 2012.
To vote or not?
Campaigning BT for faster broadband is always a good idea, so YES, I would definitely suggest voting. But don’t get your hopes up, all I can see this really doing is giving BT a better indication of just how much of a demand there is across the whole country.
FibreCity is behind the 100Mbps network in Bournemouth. There are rumours that they are looking to expaind their network, but it is unclear if it would be ever be available in the Isle of Purbeck.
Link to FibreCity www.fibrecity.eu.
There is also a strong indication that C4L will be testing their 100Mbps Wireless Broadband in Purbeck at some point. If this happens then there would be no need to use a telephone line, meaning we wouldn’t have to rely on BT’s infrastructure anymore — which has been the main cause of the fluctuations and Major Service Outages (MS) over the last year.
Link to C4L www.c4l.co.uk.
What do you think of BT’s Race to Infinity?