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  Annual review and summary financial statement 2003
Alison Ritchie Alison Ritchie, BT's first Chief Broadband Officer, whose role is to direct and align the people and processes involved in the end-to-end delivery of broadband.
Broadband communications is a huge opportunity and we believe that the developing broadband market is important to our future success. In the 2003 financial year, the number of broadband connections grew by 380% to around 800,000. Since January, we’ve been adding well over 20,000 broadband connections every week and, with 936,000 connections at 16 May 2003, are on target to reach one million connections in the summer of 2003.

Broadband has come of age. For consumers at home, it doesn’t just mean faster, always-on access to the internet. It means a new world of communication and entertainment possibilities, bringing music, games, video, education and security services down the line.

For business, it can mean increased productivity, innovative collaborations, competitive edge and the chance to get on top of costs. Our business customers have always-on access to a range of valuable business applications and resources, helping them serve their customers more effectively.

Over the past year or so, the broadband landscape has changed beyond recognition. Not so long ago, price and lack of awareness were hot issues for BT and for the rest of the industry. Since then, we’ve made major reductions to our wholesale and retail broadband prices, introduced special offers, and launched BT’s biggest ever advertising campaign to announce that broadband has landed.

We’re also doing a great deal to deliver broadband cost effectively to as many parts of the UK as possible. As at 31 March 2003, 67% of UK homes were connected to one of our 1,167 broadband-enabled exchange areas and we are working hard to increase this.

During the year, for example, we launched an innovative registration scheme in more than 800 areas. Once a certain level of demand is registered in any of those areas, the exchange is broadband enabled. As at 31 March 2003, over 320,000 people had registered an interest through this scheme, 44 exchanges had been broadband enabled and a further 247 were in the process of being enabled.

And BT has been working with partners in both the public and private sectors to develop new ways of bringing broadband to parts of the UK where the commercial case for broadband deployment is harder to make.

Putting broadband at the heart of BT
Broadband technology has the potential to change forever the way we live and bring up our families and it’s transforming the way in which large and small businesses work, communicate with their customers and market their products. Almost 70% of UK homes are already connected to broadband-enabled exchange areas and that could rise to 90% in the next few years.
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