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Four-fifths of UK businesses are to be offered 20Mb ADSL broadband by BT before the end of this year.

Industry publication PC Pro reported that the development is part of the internet service provider's 21st Century Network scheme which will see the group attempt to gain ground on Virgin Media, which now provides cable connections of up to 50Mb.

While the service does have a potential download rate of 24Mb, it will be marketed as 20Mb, BT said.

John Strutt, General Manager of Business Voice and Broadband Products, told the publication: "The technology does go a little faster, but after all the tests we've done, we've said let's get a bit of honesty into it."

BT has pledged to invest £1.5 billion in deploying fibre to the cabinet connections with download speeds of up to 40Mb and upload rates of 2Mb.

The telecoms group also recently introduced one of the cheapest home and mobile broadband packages in the UK, giving surfers access to the internet for less that 60p per day.

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