London to get 24Mbps broadband

Analysts have questioned whether there are services that warrant such high speeds, however

Londoners could soon see broadband speeds triple to 24Mbps, thanks to a recently launched company that has promised to deliver ADSL2+ Internet services.

Be, a new Internet service provider, said the service will dwarf current top speeds of 8Mbps, and will be available in the capital in three months' time.

The company is currently keeping its pricing strategy a secret but said the service, which works over local-loop unbundling, will be "competitive".

The ISP is one of the first operators in the UK to use French telco Alcatel's routing equipment and technology.

Boris Ivanovic, co-founder of Be, has already tried his hand at the broadband market. In 2001 he bought Swedish ISP Bostream, which launched 26Mbps broadband.

Ivanovic said: "The deregulation of the market makes this a very exciting time for the UK and Be is here to make the most of it, offering customers the full capability of ADSL2+ from launch. There is no reason to drag out the increase in speed and launch in steps of 1Mb or 2Mb when the capability is there to offer the maximum speeds available — which is what Be is all about."

However Mark Blowers, senior research analyst for the Butler Group, was sceptical there is sufficient demand for the service: "I think it's good news for the broadband market that people are starting to roll out higher speeds. The caveat to that is that you don't always get the speeds because of copper quality and distance to the exchange.

"This will be good for high-definition images and open the market for other television things. Although it's a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation — are there those services currently available? Sometimes these companies neglect what customers actually require from the service."

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