BT has launched its fibre-optic broadband service for businesses, promising download speeds of up to 40Mbps with prices starting at £30 per month.
The basic service costs £30 per month for a 24-month contract, with upload speeds of up to 2Mbps. For £45 per month, customers can get the 'Plus' version of the service, which offers upload speeds of up to 10Mbps.
BT charges more for 12-month contracts: £35 per month for BT Business Total Broadband Fibre, and £50 per month for the more advanced package.
All packages include 500 minutes on BT's Openzone Wi-Fi network, access to 24-hour technical support, 10 email addresses and 50MB of web space, among other features.
BT said it believes the 10Mbps upload speeds will be a particular draw for small businesses, which need to send ever-larger files. The company is targeting businesses that want to get into internet telephony, high-definition video conferencing, business-grade cloud applications and home working, as well as running standard email, web and FTP services.
"Twenty-eight percent of businesses are already using faster broadband to expand their website capabilities, and another 25 percent are using it to drive more processes online and employ more bandwidth-hungry technology, according to our research last year," BT managing director Nigel Stagg said in a statement.
Competition to BT's fibre services comes mainly from Virgin Media. BT has said its upload speeds are faster than those offered by Virgin, but this has been disputed by its rival.
BT's new service is based on fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) technology, meaning a local street cabinet is connected to BT's network via fibre, with copper used for the final connection between the cabinet and the premises.
It plans to connect 10 million homes and businesses to fibre-based services by mid-2012, with 75 percent of those expected to have access to FTTC services. The remaining 25 percent, or about 2.5 million, are to be connected via FTTH, which will offer download speeds of up to 100Mbps, BT said.
The company said in December that it was ahead of schedule with the fibre rollout.
BT said on Thursday last week that it plans to make FTTC available to four million homes and businesses by the end of 2010. Openreach, BT's local-access division, began selling fibre services from enabled exchanges on a commercial basis two weeks ago, a BT spokesman told ZDNet UK.