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8th December 2003, London - Easynet, the pan-European provider of broadband to business and government, today announced the launch of broadband services to businesses in Newcastle-Under-Lyme, Staffordshire - the first time that another telecoms provider, rather than BT, has enabled a local exchange for broadband services.


The installation of the Easynet broadband infrastructure is supported by the regional development agency Advantage West Midlands. The aim is to provide thousands of local businesses situated on and around the Lymedale Business Parks, north of Newcastle-under-Lyme, with a wider range of high quality broadband services at affordable prices. The availability of high speed Internet access and the opportunities it presents to businesses will help regenerate the area, as the local business parks become more desirable to businesses looking to grow in the region - and as broadband becomes a key influence for companies choosing new premises.


Easynet is providing broadband services to the region from exchanges neglected by BT. Under the BT Broadband registration scheme, the Dimsdale exchange in Newcastle-under-Lyme had only 33% of the required registrations, and the Waterhayes exchange did not have a trigger level set. This meant that it would have been some time before broadband was deployed to the Lymedale business parks - until Easynet worked with the regional development agency Advantage West Midlands and local authorities to implement its infrastructure based on local business demand.


Lymedale businesses will benefit from the wider range of broadband services that Easynet can offer compared to BT and other providers. Among the services now available locally is the fastest ADSL (asymmetrical digital subscriber line) service in the UK at 8Mbps*, two-way 2Mbps SDSL (symmetrical digital subscriber line) and SureStreamTM, Easynet's competitive alternative to expensive leased lines for dedicated Internet access with service level guarantees.

The Lymedale project is an example of how critical it is for local public and private sector organizations to aggregate their demand for broadband services, to trigger the faster introduction of broadband infrastructure locally. As part of its commitment to business broadband, Easynet has launched Easynet Exchange Enable (E3), a scheme that encourages local broadband aggregation and uses lower trigger levels than those used by BT to justify local loop unbundling based on business rather than consumer demand.


David Rowe, CEO, Easynet said: "You can't do business today unless you have easy access to affordable broadband. But there are still too many broadband black spots around the country including industrial areas like Lymedale. The solution is private-public sector cooperation to justify the business case for broadband and this project is an excellent example of what can be achieved when both sides work so closely together. The success of Lymedale is a trailblazer for our E3 programme".


Among the 6000 or more businesses set to benefit is Alpha Business Communications. Chris Booth, Alpha Business Communications said: "We've been desperately waiting for broadband to arrive so that we can have much more reliable, faster and more cost effective access to the Internet for our engineers and customer service staff. Bringing broadband to Lymedale really boosts our business and makes the area as a whole more attractive for businesses of all sizes who need affordable, high quality data communications infrastructure."


Eddie Murphy, Head of Information Communication Technology, Advantage West Midlands, said: "This latest launch of broadband coverage represents a major improvement of communications availability for businesses and residents in the area. In fact, the affordable broadband services available are considerably higher than those available in most other parts of the country. We expect this to be a major economic boost to the area."


* For a speed test and demonstration of broadband go to www.easynet.net

Ends




Editors' Notes:


About Easynet


Easynet is a leading pan-European Business Broadband provider and business ISP with operations in eight European countries. Established in 1994, Easynet owns and operates one of Europe's most advanced Internet network and data center infrastructures. In the UK, Easynet has a national broadband network spanning 4,450kms.



About the Lymedale Project


The Lymedale project, part of a Rural Broadband Pilot for SMEs is using funding provided by Advantage West Midlands and the DTI UK Broadband Fund to gain an understanding of how broadband coverage can be extended to areas outside of existing coverage.


About E3


Easynet Exchange Enable (E3) is a major new initiative which encourages all elements of the public sector to work together to aggregate demand for broadband to trigger the deployment of new broadband services in local exchanges. This will make high quality broadband available to the wider business community in areas not currently covered by BT or other providers.


E3 is different from equivalent schemes available, as Easynet can unbundle local exchanges based on lower trigger levels by taking into consideration the higher value, aggregated public sector demand for broadband. A smaller number of sites is needed to unbundle an exchange that would not have been broadband enabled under other providers' criteria. E.g. 10 - 25 connections of various kinds, such as Local Education Authorities, NHS Trusts, local councils and Emergency Services - are needed


Easynet leads the rest of industry in unbundling local exchanges to provide broadband services in competition with BT and other providers. As of September 2003, the company had unbundled more exchanges than anyone else with 127 exchanges unbundled and is on course to reach a year-end target of 150 exchanges.


Web: www.uk.Easynet.net


ISPA Internet Industry Award Winner 1999, 2000 & 2001 IIR European ISP Forum 2000 - Best Business ISP


Press and Public Relations Enquiries:

Daniel Couzens Jo Twiselton

Grant Butler Coomber Easynet Limited

Tel: 0208 322 1900 Tel: 020 7900 4444

Fax:020 8322 1923 Fax:020 7900 7599

danielc@gbc.co.uk jo.twiselton@Easynet.com





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