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The BT Tower, London

BT customers are in line for super fast broadband connections imminently, following the completion of the initial stage of its roll-out of an upgraded service.

The improvement to the broadband provider’s service will see BT subscribers enjoy speeds of up to 20Mb, compared with a maximum of 8Mb previously. Meanwhile, upload speeds are also going up and will rise from 448Kb to 1Mb.

BT subscribers will pay no more for their faster connections. Initially, the upgrade is available through 549 exchanges serving 40 per cent of the UK’s homes and businesses. BT plans to extend this to 55 per cent by 2010.

In order to get the faster service, existing customers who live in enabled areas must renew their contracts with BT. New customers are automatically eligible for the 20Mb connections, provided they live in areas where the improvement to the broadband supplier’s network has been completed.

Furthermore by signing up online for any broadband package that includes calls, consumers who are new to BT will benefit from free broadband for the first three months of their contract term. This is part of a limited period promotion which is available now through Top 10 Broadband.

News of BT’s move comes as it launches its BT Broadband Accelerator booster pack – a gadget that can improve connection speed and reliability. This is free to all Total Broadband customers who order online and pay postage costs of £1.20 and could help them boost their connection speed by up to 1.5Mb.

The gadget, which is also known as the I-Plate, works by cutting electrical interference. BT does not guarantee that a faster service will result, but stressed that the device can also help to stabilise connections and make them more reliable. Customers need only insert a small plate into their main telephone socket, with no further installation required.

Jessica McArdle, marketing manager at Top 10 Broadband, welcomed the move which she said would improve the internet experience immeasurably for BT subscribers and allow them to make the most of their connections.

Ms McArdle commented: "With 20Mb, BT customers will enjoy an entirely different experience of being online.

“Forget not waiting for pages to load, those who move to BT and choose 20Mb speeds will be able to download movies in minutes and songs in seconds.”

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