BT offers free broadband upgrade

UK fixed line incumbent BT is to double the headline broadband speeds for millions of consumers and businesses with a free upgrade, the company announced this week.

As part of the upgrade to BT’s 21CN platform, faster speeds will initially be available from 549 telephone exchanges in the UK, serving more than 10 million homes and businesses.

BT Retail broadband customers already get speeds of up to 8Mbps, and the upgrade plan will see consumers and business in certain areas receive speeds of up to 20Mbps at no extra cost.

The carrier said that around 60,000 consumers are already getting faster speeds through a BT trial and the upgrade to ADSL 2+ will be available to other homes in the summer.

BT is also setting out to push rich media internet services by giving away a ‘broadband accelerator,’ which claims to improve performance around the home by eliminating electrical interference in telephone extension wiring.

In a separate move, BT Retail is also trialling up to 40Mbps fibre-based broadband in Whitchurch, South Wales and Muswell Hill, London this summer.

The move should allow BT to better compete with cable-based rival Virgin Media, which rolled out 50Mbps connectivity to consumers late last year.

With faster speeds, the idea is that customers will be able to do such things as interactive gaming, download online video quickly and watch HDTV, simultaneously, via multiple devices (PC and TV) in the home.

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