British incumbent BT has announced that residential customers in those areas where it has upgraded exchanges with ADSL2+ technology will now be offered download speeds of up to 20Mbps and upload speeds of up to 1Mbps. BT’s business customers have already been given access to the higher speeds; the telco announced the commercial launch for business users in June this year. At present BT has enabled 549 exchanges for the increased speeds, which it says gives around 40% of the UK population access to the services, and it expects coverage to rise to 55% by March 2010. BT has also confirmed that the higher speeds will be offered at no additional costs to its existing subscribers, although current customers will have to enter into a new contract to be eligible for the upgrade.
The operator has also revealed that it will make its BT Broadband Accelerator, a speed booster pack, free for all BT broadband customers that order it online. The Accelerator includes a small plate that can be inserted into a property’s main telephone socket in a bid to reduce the impact of electrical interference; the telco claims it can increase broadband download speeds by up to 1.5Mbps.
Commenting on the developments, John Petter, managing director of BT’s Consumer division, said: ‘Between the Accelerator and us more than doubling headline speeds for millions of homes and businesses, most customers should start to see a rapid boost in the performance of their connection. We have a track record of not charging customers any more when we increase the speed and this time is no different. BT broadband customers won’t have to pay any more to get higher speeds. These two moves demonstrate our commitment to helping the UK move closer to the kind of widely-available speeds published in the Digital Britain report.’