BT pushes broadband up to 8Mbps

BT pushes broadband up to 8Mbps

Summary: BT's ADSL is finally reaching its full speed - but only if you're near an exchange

TOPICS: Networking

BT will be able to supply millions of UK homes and businesses with broadband at speeds up to 8Mbps from the end of this month.

The telco announced on Thursday that faster broadband services will be available from 31 March. They are based on ADSL Max, which uses existing DSL standards with all rate limitations removed. This offers a much faster downlink speed than BT's current ADSL products, which have been rate limited since the service was launched.

However, while most broadband users should be able to get faster speeds than before, 8Mbps won't be universally available. Physical limitations mean that only 42 percent of phone lines will be able to support 6Mbps or faster, while 78 percent can get at least 4Mbps, according to information released by BT. Upstream speeds will reach 448kbps for consumer variants while an office version will reach 832kbps

For the full 8Mbps, BT says that people will have to be "living or working close to their local telephone exchange".

Many ISPs are expected to offer ADSL Max services, although only a few have published their plans so far. For example, Zen Internet will charge £24.99 per month for its 8Mbps consumer product, and £34.99 for the business version. Zen will upgrade its existing 2Mbps customers up to 8Mbps for free.

As BT Wholesale won't charge its ISP customers any more for 8Mbps products than it does for today's 2Mbps products, there's little reason for ISPs to raise their prices.

"It won't cost the service providers any more to regrade a line to 8Mbps, if they have already regraded it to 2Mbps in the past. If not, they have to pay £5 per customer," explained a BT Wholesale spokeswoman, adding that monthly charges and connection fees remain the same.

Some telecoms operators, such as UK Online, have been offering 8Mbps services in some urban locations since last year. BT, though, says it has taken longer because it wanted to make its service available to as many people as possible.

Topic: Networking

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  • What about people like me who are with BT and still only get 1meg but pay for 2meg?
  • Some are lucky! BT are not able to make my 'local loop' run at better than 512kbps downlink, 256 kbps uplink, and even that is unreliable.
    I would love to get better, but BT just don't want to know if the problem is only evident on the ADSL service.
    8Mbps would be nirvana for rural users.
    When will we get ADSL2+ or an equivalent? Or, better still, a service that does not discriminate against those whose 'local' exchange is too far away because that's where BT put it?
  • How close are you to an exchange? If you're beyond a certain distance then I don't think you could ever get 2 Mbps using existing ADSL. Your options would therefore be:

    a) Switch to cable, or
    b) Downgrade to a 1 Mbps service and save yourself some money.

    (I suppose you have already checked for sneaky spyware applications that could be stealing the "missing" 1 Mbps? Or perhaps you have a USB v1.1 ADSL modem, and lots of other USB toys sharing the bandwidth on the USB bus? BT couldn't do anything about those things either.)
  • Think yourself lucky if you can get broadband at all. I live in a northern industrial town in the middle of the Manchester Liverpool connerbation and I can't even get 1mg broadband. Am having to return my Free modem to my ISP. Reason given is that I am too far from local exchange and BT consider it too expensive to upgrade it.
    So I have to put up with a dial-up service at same price as others who get broadband and also the inconvenience of the phone being tied up by it.
    Come on BT get off your backside and give us the service we need.