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BT squeezes more speed out of copper

Superfast broadband services are no longer a rarity in the UK

“Don’t write off plain old copper just yet”; that’s the message from UK incumbent carrier BT and analysts supporting the firm’s move to boost broadband speeds for the bulk of its subscribers.

This week the company unveiled the Broadband Accelerator – essentially a small plate that users self- install into their main phone socket to reduce the impact of electrical interference.

The accelerator, also known as the I-Plate, isolates a redundant wire in the socket which can slow connections. It may boost speeds by up to 1.5Mbps, BT said, taking some up to headline speeds of around 20Mbps. Even if this headline benefit doesn’t materialise, the accelerator is still likely to improve reliability in the connection.

Moreover, the device is being sent out to BT users for free. They will only have to pay postage of £1.20, making the offer especially attractive to BT’s bulk of users receiving around 2Mbps or less.

Michael Kovacocy, European telecoms analyst at Daiwa Securities, said he likes the product, “because whilst it will not change the world, it highlights that the ability to extract further performance from installed fixed infrastructure has not yet fully run its course. When market onlookers weigh arguments about mobile versus fixed broadband substitution, the ability of fixed networks to deliver VOD and IPTV to the home, etc., they would be well served to keep in mind this point.”

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5 comments

  1. Julian Vicari 19/08/2009 @ 12:38 pm

    This is the same IPlate that was selling for £10 plus not so long ago. All it does is isolate the bell wire. I did this over 2 years ago myself for cost of nothing. You just disconnect wire 3 and 5 from each socket after seeing it on http://www.dslzoneuk.net/. BT are trying to make out its something they have produced that will benefit its users yet its been around for years.

  2. Julian Vicari 19/08/2009 @ 12:40 pm

    sorry I meant 3,4 or 6 wires.

  3. Lucy Kelvin 19/08/2009 @ 1:58 pm

    The question is, why is anyone anywhere having to pay for this item? Most of us are paying already for bandwidth we don’t get. In my case a half meg connection, 400K in reality, where others on the same tariff receive 2MB or more. Why should we therefore pay yet more just to obtain something nearer to what was supposed to be provided in the first place?

  4. Jim Bob 19/08/2009 @ 2:05 pm

    i-plate been around many many years. It does remove a particular noise on the line but am sceptical about the top line figure of throughputs upto 20 MB. I live in a new build next to the DSLAM got about 1.5 MB improvement (not really noticeable for normal activity), but do note that i don’t know teh route the copper takes so the link may be longer than 500m. Obviously still suffer the same contention ration.

    • Jim Bob 19/08/2009 @ 3:25 pm

      BTW, just before you jump up and down beware that if you have a socket wit BT openreach logo this i-plate is not for you. Also if you have a Service Specific Front Plate installed that separates the broadband and telephone signals then its going to make no difference. I have also heard that some lines are now installed with no “ringer” wire. If this is the case then you don’t havethe bell wire to grab on to interference and therefore you don’t need the i-plate.

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