BT has announced it is to boost its broadband speeds from next month.
Some BT customers will see their broadband speed quadrupled from two megabits per second (2Mbps) to 8Mbps.
The company said that 78 per cent of its users would be able to get 4Mbps while 42 per cent will be able to access 6Mbps. People living or working close to a telephone exchange may get a line rate of 8Mbps.
BT said that more than 5,300 exchanges, which serve 99.6 per cent of UK homes and businesses, are being upgraded to support the higher speeds, which will be phased in, starting next month.
BT Wholesale Chief Executive Paul Reynolds said: ‘Higher speed and more reliable broadband services will help ensure that people can run more bandwidth-hungry applications, including video, gaming and music downloads at the same time, as well as email and surfing the web.’
Which? internet expert Ceri Stanaway said: ‘Historically, the broadband speed available to you has varied hugely depending on where you live. We welcome BT’s move, which will certainly help level the playing field; every ISP using ADSL will be able to offer speeds of up to 8Mbps.
‘It’s good news that BT is offering this upgrade to its broadband customers for no additional cost. People with a BT landline but who use a different company for their broadband service may be charged extra by their provider for an upgrade – but we hope they’ll offer this for free. Some companies already offer this higher speed as standard.
‘We encourage people to shop around for the best broadband deal for them. Which? research has shown that BT’s cheapest package is GBP 17.99 a month, and one of our Best Buys offers an equivalent service for GBP 14.99 a month.’
The broadband speed available on an individual line depends on a range of factors including the length of the line from the exchange, the number and quality of joints, electromagnetic noise from other wiring within the home, and the type of modem you have.
Customers can check the expected speed for their line on BT’s broadband page.