Hebweb Broadband

Calder Valley Exchange Trigger Level

From Mark O'Leary
Thursday, July 17, 2003

I find myself wondering how BT broadband managed to evolve this business model. In what other industry do the customers band together and work unpaid to market the product and beg to be allowed to buy it? Through the praiseworthy efforts of any number of locals (including our local MP), we have been granted the privilege of the change of status from "We'll never sell you our product" to "If enough of you get on your knees, we might". What marketing budget might a company have had to spend in order to get local websites, regular community meetings, articles in local press etc. for a more conventional product? I can't recall local pressure groups and rallies aimed at changing my choice of kitchen roll...

The justification is that broadband through the Calder Valley exchange would not be economical for BT to provide without a high (the highest, in fact) take up. I'd accept that if this were not a monopoly situation.

I suspect that we will face some difficulty meeting the 500 registrations trigger - and more importantly, the required percentage of confirmed orders once the trigger is provisionally passed. Its difficult not to think that most of the truly interested parties have already registered. In effect, the 500 trigger level feels like a more defensible way of continuing to say "no".

If we do make the grade, I will turn out to be a paying customer whatever my feelings about BT's practices: broadband really is a 'better mousetrap' and it seems we truly have no choice other than to beat the path to their door. So, I applaud the attempts to get our community through the hoops we've been set. It would be nice to have an alternative, though...