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BT Openreach is set to double the download speeds accessible to fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) broadband users, it has been revealed.

The broadband provider has timetabled an FTTC trial programme which could see download speeds increase from 40Mb to 80Mb, and uploads increase to 20Mb.

BT is achieving the speed boost by increasing its spectrum allocation within the Access Network Frequency Plan from 7MHz to 17MHz, reports

UK households receive faster downloads via FTTC broadband because data is transferred via a fibre-optic link to their local street cabinet.

A traditional copper wire is then used to connect homes and business premises to the cabinet.

Faster download speeds of up to 100Mb are available through fibre-to-the-premises connections, which also use a fibre link between the cabinet and end user.

BT Openreach is aiming to complete the necessary preparation work by the end of January 2012, before commencing the pilot scheme.

The broadband provider will then conduct 80Mb FTTC trials between January and March 2012, with a full rollout expected later in the year.

BT is currently investing £2.5 billion in its fibre broadband plan – upgrading telephone exchanges and street cabinets across the UK to support super-fast internet services.

The latest development could help the firm achieve its goal of providing 25Mb broadband to two-thirds of the UK population by 2015.

BT also aims to have made super-fast broadband available to 40 per cent of UK homes and businesses by the end of next year.

A number of other broadband providers – such as O2, Sky and TalkTalk – take advantage of BT's wholesale network to deliver broadband deals to UK customers.

Altogether, around 15 million homes and businesses in the UK receive broadband services via BT's communications infrastructure.

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