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Be pushes upstream broadband past 2Mbps

Speedy ADSL promises joy for users and gloom for symmetric service providers
Written by Graeme Wearden, Contributor

UK telecoms operator Be has begun trialling an ADSL service that lets users upload information faster than ever before .

Be announced on Tuesday that it has been trialling the service, based on the ITU ADSL Annex M enhancement, since late last year over its ADSL2+ network. Customers taking part in the trials have experienced average upload speeds of 1.9Mbps, Be said, and top speeds of 2.5Mbps.

This is much faster than other broadband services. A standard ADSL or ADSL2+ connection has a theoretical maximum uplink speed of 800Kbps, but most ADSL services have been capped below that at 256Kbps, 128Kbps or even 64Kbps.

Be said it would upgrade its Office ADSL2+ service — which offers a downlink of up to 22Mbps — to support these faster uplink speeds later this year. It currently only offers services in London, but will launch in Birmingham and Manchester this spring, and other urban locations throughout the year. The service will cost £75 a month, excluding VAT, with a £24 connection fee.

Be's ADSL2+ is a contended service, meaning that up to 20 customers could be sharing the maximum bandwidth at any one time. This could mean that users don't get such high speeds during busy times in either direction.

Even so, such a rapid uplink could appeal to a small business or home worker who wants to stream content over the Internet, upload lots of data, or guarantee a reliable VoIP connection.

Until recently, BT had been promoting its SDSL service as a suitable product for customers who wanted a fast uplink. SDSL provides a speed of up to 2Mbps in both directions.

However, last August, BT suspended its rollout of SDSL. This was shortly before it began promoting its DSL Max product, due to launch later this month, which has a maximum downlink of 8Mbps and uplink of 800Kbps.

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