BT to upgrade to 8Mbit ADSL nationwide

Written by bit-tech Staff

March 6, 2006 // 2:15 p.m.

Tags: #adsl #british-telecom #broadband #exchange #isp #upgrade

Companies: #bt

MrWillyWonka writes: Britain has always been lagging behind other countries in Broadband speeds, but we have seen increases in speed over the past two years from 512kbps and 1Mbit to 2Mbit. Last summer 8Mbit was released to certain areas, and likewise around September 24Mbit was released, mainly around London.

Now there is good news: BT has announced that they are enabling up to 8Mbps on 99.6% of exchanges in the UK, which totals around 5,300 exchanges across the nation. These exchanges have already been upgraded previously to enable 8Mbit, it was just the case of BT pressing the button to allow us to get 8Mbps.

The new speeds is not a result of LLU (Local Loop Unbundling) being enabled - LLU is simply the end user's internet connection being connected straight to the ISP rather than via BT, which results in lower latency and faster speeds. Only with this can more than 8Mbits be obtained.

BT's current plan to enable 8Mbps is only the maximum attainable rate of ones line*, therefore not everybody will be able to get the full speeds. When it is released on 31st March BT estimates that 78% of phone lines will be able to get 4Mbits and above, 42% to get 6Mbits and above and only those living close to the exchange (approx 500m) will be able to obtain the full 8Mbits.

There is a twist: it will be up to ISPs whether UK citizens can get their speed increase as their user database will need to be upgraded which may take months, but most of the UK should be experiencing faster speeds over the next few months.

After this BT can only upgrade LLU on all the exchanges, with city centres and business areas being the main targets. So far I can confirm that the following ISPs will be enabling ADSL Max:
  • BT
  • Bulldog
  • Pipex
  • Wanadoo
There are others, but it is not clear whether they are taking advantage of ADSL Max or LLU.

There are two versions of ADSL Max: ADSL Max and ADSL Max Premium with the former having 448kbps upload and the latter with 832kbps upload. All this speed increase is one step closer to streaming television better server hosting, not to mention it's good for business. It also puts the UK in line with the rest of Europe- France has already had 8Mbits for a while now. It also puts the UK ahead of the US for the first time.

What speed is your ADSL? Will you be taking advantage of the extra speed if it is enabled in your area? Post your thoughts in the News Discussion forum.
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