BT Wholesale is to distribute a software suite that could improve the performance of broadband connections through the use of multiple lines.
The Sharedband aggregation suite, created by a UK start-up of the same name, allows two or more standard broadband lines to be added together to deliver up to four times the speed for uploads and downloads. Thursday's deal will see the suite offered to BT's ISP customers for rollout to broadband users across the country.
"Using Sharedband means that two 2Mbps lines will perform as one connection of up to 4Mbps, four 2Mbps lines will deliver up to 8Mbps and so on," said Paul Evans, Sharedband's chief executive, on Thursday. "Crucially, the upload speeds will also be transformed. Working with BT will provide us with tremendous market awareness and scalability to meet the expected demand fuelled by new online applications, especially where upstream bandwidth is needed."
On an 8Mbps broadband connection, upload speeds tend to be around 500Kbps — or approximately an eighth of average download speeds.
BT Wholesale's director of product management, Angus Flett, said the patented technology could aid in the development and rollout of a new generation of services. "Complementing our existing and future broadband portfolio, Sharedband presents an opportunity for ISPs to further satisfy their customers' requirement for additional performance while improving their own revenues and profit margins," he said on Thursday.
In its statement on the BT deal, Sharedband also claimed that the use of its suite would add a layer of resilience to broadband connections, as the loss of one line would still leave at least one other line intact.
Peter Cochrane, formerly head of BT Research, is a non-executive director of Sharedband. He told ZDNet.co.uk on Tuesday that the suite — developed in part by other ex-BT Labs employees — would fill a gap that currently exists in the access market due to uncertainty over who will pay for fibre to be rolled out across the UK.
"As BT and others vacillate about fibre, there is an opportunity to make use of what you've got," said Cochrane, who suggested that the product would still prove useful even if fibre access became commonplace. "It can be expanded for the future to increase people's access, and it puts into the hands of the customer the means of measuring the performance of networks continuously," he added.