There’s good news for combatants in the battle to broadband Britain from BT today, with news of plans to extend ADSL services to 99.6 per cent of UK homes by summer 2005.

The company intends accelerating its rollout of broadband to rural communities, answering strong demand from these areas, which needed broadband to remain competitive. The plans will, "make the UK the world leader for broadband availability."

BT will furnish ADSL broadband in a further 1,128 exchanges by no later than summer 2005, the company said, bringing ADSL to 99.6 per cent of UK homes and businesses.

BT chief broadband officer Alison Ritchie said: "BT has continued to innovate in order to drive broadband as an enabler for tomorrow's society and to deliver a truly Broadband Britain.

"The broadband registration scheme has been a powerful tool for us to match investment to demand and its fantastic success, with the support of local campaigners, has set the way for other countries to follow."

The rollout programme will be announced in detail by the end of June and will help BT bring forward some published broadband switch-on dates.

Ritchie added: "The impact that local campaigners have had has been phenomenal – their efforts have meant take-up rates on trigger exchanges have exceeded those for exchanges that were enabled before the registration scheme."

The news means broadband will be available from all but the very smallest UK exchange, which means 100,000 UK households will still remain out of the loop. BT does promise to "work in partnership with public sector and other organizations to find suitable ways of delivering broadband to these exchanges."

BT is also working on wireless and satellite broadband solutions.