BT pushes broadband booster button

Broadband connections

BT has increased its headline broadband speeds to 20Mbps following the completion of work needed to upgrade hundreds of its telephone exchanges.

The speed tweak from "up to" 8Mbps will be free for customers lucky enough to live in enabled areas, and is accompanied by an increase in theoretical upstream speeds from 448Kbits/sec to 1Mbps.

The revved-up service will initially only be available for BT Retail customers connecting through 549 exchanges that serve approximately 40 per cent of the UK's homes and businesses, although the company hopes to increase reach to 55 per cent by March next year. We're waiting to here back from BT on which areas will receive the speed boost.

Interestingly, for those vexed by the industry-wide practice of over-hyping headline speeds, BT is marketing ADSL as "up to 20Mbps" even though the technology is theoretically capable of 24Mbps.

"Only a small percentage of customers are likely to be able to receive the 24Mbits/sec," a BT spokesperson told sister title PC Pro back in June. "We think 20Mbps is a better indication of the sort of service they can expect."

BT is also pressing ahead with trials of fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) this summer. The FTTC service will offer speeds up to 40Mbps and is being piloted in Whitchurch, South Wales and Muswell Hill in London.

The company still has a long way to go to catch up with Virgin, however. The cable company is currently testing 200Mbps broadband connections.