British Telecommunications PLC (BT) plans to make its (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) broadband service available to 90 per cent of U.K. homes by the third quarter. It also plans to cut fees for the service, slashing wholesale prices by up to 52 per cent, it said Thursday.

Around 67 per cent of U.K. homes and small businesses are within reach of BT’s broadband service today, although only 800,000 subscribe to it, the company said in a statement.

New software has allowed changes to the way fibre is deployed between exchanges, saving one in two back-haul links (the link from the exchange back to BT’s core network) and thereby cutting costs, Paul Reynolds, chief executive of BT’s Wholesale division said in a conference call Thursday.

That will allow 600 exchanges, which currently have no “trigger” levels, to have realistic levels set, Reynolds said. Trigger levels represent the level of customer demand needed at an exchange to make broadband deployment economically viable to BT.

Trigger levels on other exchanges are not being changed, BT chief executive Ben Verwaayen said. However, they may be changed in future if the U.K. government boosts broadband use by connecting up schools, National Health Service (NHS) establishments and police. “Even if they are not on ADSL, that will be counted as traffic (through those exchanges) and will help us to get trigger levels down,” he said.

“Our plea to government is for it to get its weight behind broadband,” Verwaayen said.

Wholesale charges to ISPs are being cut, from