Easynet, one of BT's major competitors in urban areas, is aiming to launch significantly faster broadband services later this year.
The company announced on Friday it has begun trialling ADSL2 and ADSL2+, technologies that can run on the same networks as today's ADSL services. Easynet claims that ADSL2+ will support download speeds of up to 24Mbps. As well as faster speeds, ADSL2 and ADSL2+ should work for some sites which are currently too far from their local exchange to use ADSL services.
"Whilst we await the process of ADSL2+ approval for commercial use... we are undertaking a technical trial of ADSL2 and ADSL2+ capability that is already embedded in our LLU network," said Justin Fielder, Easynet's business development director.
"Our intention is to make sure that our customers and partners are at the forefront of the technology curve and we anticipate full commercial launch of ultrafast [sic] broadband services in the second half of 2005."
Easynet has used the local-loop unbundling process to install its equipment in 240 BT metropolitan local exchanges in places such as London, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds and Bristol, as well as many smaller towns.
Companies across the UK telecoms sector are showing an interest in ADSL2+. NTL announced last month that it plans to trial it, predicting that it could run at up to 18Mbps over the copper wires within its cable network. BT is also planning trials.