British Telecommunications PLC today set trigger levels for a further 500 exchanges throughout the UK, building on its promise to bring ADSL broadband within reach of 90 per cent of UK homes and businesses.

The company has now set trigger levels - the number of registrations it requires from locals before broadband-enabling their nearest exchange - to upgrade for a further 500 exchanges. Fifty-six of these will go straight on to BT's upgrade programme having already received sufficient interest to meet the new target figures.

"A month ago we announced one million wholesale broadband connections and re-emphasized our commitment to deliver on broadband," said Bruce Stanford, products director at BT Wholesale.

"Our people have been working hard to identify innovative ways of bringing broadband commercially to areas where local geography and historical evolution of the network have made the challenge harder. Their perseverance has paid off and now we're in a position where, if the demand is there, we can bring ADSL broadband to 90 per cent of the UK."

But BT has been a little coy about exactly when it will reach its 90 per cent target. Since BT started registration scheme in July 2002, more than 470,000 people have expressed their interest and over 300 local exchanges have been upgraded, taking BT's ADSL coverage up to 71 per cent.

There are currently a further 400 exchanges in the upgrade programme.