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BT is planning to double the number of UK houses that will be able to access super fast broadband services by 2011, under the next phase of its roll out of its 21st Century Network (21CN).

At present, 40 per cent of homes across the UK are capable of getting the maximum speed of 24Mb that the upgraded network can theoretically provide. The improved service is made possible by the installation of ADSL 2+ technology on the company’s existing copper wire network.

However, this week the broadband supplier has confirmed that it is now aiming for a figure of 75 per cent by spring 2011. The upgrade will enable customers to download content significantly faster than at present, with all broadband suppliers who lease lines from BT able to offer the quicker service.

Additionally, BT has also announced pricing changes to its wholesale rental charges for rival broadband providers. The lower price points are intended to make it more viable for them to offer a broadband service in rural locations with a low density population.

Under plans outlined by Cameron Rejali, managing director of products at BT Wholesale, the reductions will be enforced from January 2010. Bandwidth charges are to drop by almost 50 per cent, while rental charges are to be "standardised at the lowest current price," he said.

Mr Rejali commented: “Today’s announcement is further evidence of BT’s commitment to deliver next-generation broadband services across the UK.

“By expanding the footprint and reducing wholesale prices, we are helping communications providers deliver faster speeds to more customers, essential benefits in the tough economic and competitive environment we face today.”

Currently, BT’s existing broadband network is capable of delivering a maximum broadband connection speed of up to 8Mb, depending how far away customers live from their telephone exchange.

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