BT is to map the demand for broadband across the country, and give the five keenest areas an upgrade by 2012
The move will give the opportunity to communities deprived of high-speed web access the chance to get investment from the telecoms firm.
The online survey, running until the end of the year, aims to identify demand “hot spots”.
The data gathered will also inform BT’s decisions on which areas to upgrade as part of its already announced £2.5 billion commitment to provide two-thirds of the country with high-speed broadband by 2015.
BT has said that it will also “engage” with communities if more than three-quarters of all premises demand high-speed broadband, although it will not commit to expanding the network if they are not one of the top five communities in the survey, which it is calling “Race to Infinity”.
Four million homes will have access to high speed broadband by the end of 2010, but another 12 million must be enabled by 2015 if BT is to meet its target.
Communications Minister Ed Vaizey said, “Whenever I travel around the UK I hear the same message: people want access to superfast broadband in their communities. I warmly welcome any initiative that will lead to private sector investment in fibre networks, and applaud the way BT are engaging consumers to ensure that investment reaches the people who want it the most.”
Last week BT announced that it was funding, in addition to a European grant, a project to give Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly high-speed broadband, at a total cost of £132 million.
The company has been at pains to suggest recently that more than two-thirds of the country cannot be upgraded without additional funds from outside the private sector.
Get Netimperative updates on Twitter