BT said in a press conference today that it has removed one of the biggest stumbling blocks in getting customers who live further than 6km away from an exchange a broadband connection.

Following a series of trails across the UK in broadband blackspots, BT has managed to extend the reach of its ADSL products. In real terms this means that by the summer of 2005 you won't need to be within 6km of an exchange to receive 512kbps broadband services.

BT says it has now dropped this requirement and removed the limit imposed by the length of the line for 512Kbps services. The company says it is confident that 99.4 percent of the entire UK population will be able to get broadband via their phone line by the summer of 2005, when it will have completed its programme of upgrading local exchanges to offer ADSL.

"Who do you know who can't get the four main analogue TV channels with decent reception? That's the level of coverage we'll have." said BT Wholesale spokesman Francis King.

BT will begin taking orders from customers who have previous failed a line test from 6 September, as will other Internet Service Providers like Bulldog and Wanadoo.