THERE'S good news and bad news for Cheshire's rural areas which are trying to make sure they do not miss out on the technological revolution.

Homeworkers in Little Barrow can't get broadband internet access even though they were among computer users who helped persuade BT to convert their local exchange.

Onamorepositive note,Malpas,whichis running a campaign to get broadband, has now been given a target of seeking 250 registrations of interest before BT will convert the Malpas exchange.

Dr Sue Hubbard, a scientist for a large chemical company, does a lot of her work using the Internet and e-mail but she finds her current system too slow even though she has an ISDN line.

She said: 'ISDN is not fast enough for the work I want to do. I work with a server which involves looking at company databases. A lot of my work is downloading from the Internet.

'It means downloading can be considerably slow. Sometimes I could spend a whole day downloading papers. With broadband I could do it in a fifth of the time.'

The homeworker, of Little Barrow Hall Mews, is annoyed because she was among those who registered an interest in getting the Mickle Trafford exchange converted to broadband. She would have counted in the statistics when BT made a decision to go ahead and make an investment in the new technology.

A frustrated Dr Hubbard, and her 15-year-old daughter Nicola, who also uses the Internet, added: 'What I don't know is what BT is going to do about it.'

And she explained that for technical reasons, other technologies like satellite broadband were not suitable in her case.

Dr Hubbard worries broadband could bypass the rural areas unless people make a fuss. Her neighbours are in a similar situation, including architect Simon Johnson, of Chapel Rise, and are equally disappointed.

William White, of BT Openworld Customer Services, explained in a letter why Dr Hubbard's Internet business package was not working.

He said: 'We have carried out additional tests in an attempt to establish if service couldbeprovided toyou.Unfortunatelythe tests have shown that your telephone line isunableto supportourbroadbandservice at present.

'Telephone lines fail the tests because either the distance between your business andthetelephoneexchange istoogreat,or there are line quality problems or even incompatible products on the line. Please note thisdoesn'tmeanthat youhaveafault on your telephone line. If you already have an existing Internet dial up account with BT Openworld, this will not be affected.

'We do offer alternative products that enable you to access the Internet,' he added. 'Very few line tests fail so far into the installation process, and we under-stand how disappointed you must feel. Please accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused you.'

While Little Barrow languishes in the technological dark ages, Malpas is on its way towards getting broadband after a community campaign.

BThas announcedthatMalpasexchange needs 250 registrations to meet its trigger level to convert the exchange.

Ben Allman of Broadband4Malpas, said: 'Our current level is 108 but have ordered flyers etc to be delivered hopefully sometime during the next fortnight. So far, since we have been campaigning there has been a massive increase in demand for the service and we are very much looking forward to receiving many more registrations.

'We will soon be going round the village with a clipboard for door-to-door interest.

'I would still very much appreciate any interested households and businesses to register interest at our website:

'Or alternatively, for those people who do not have access to the Internet but would be interested in receiving broadband or helping us meet our campaign target, please visit the No Limits Centre at Bishop Heber High School for a postal registration form.'