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Pipex is gearing up to offer punters 24 meg broadband as part of the ISP's investment in local loop unbundling (LLU).

The ISP - which has 215,000 broadband punters at the end of June - is to wire up 60 BT exchanges to provide broadband direct to punters.

"We have selected those exchanges where we have at least 400 customers within 5kms of our core network, providing a payback within 24 months," said the ISP today.

Investing in LLU means that Pipex should be able to save money, but it will also be only be able to offer new services and speeds of up to 24 meg.

A couple of ISPs - including Easynet's UK Online and yet-to-prove-itself ISP "Be" - have already announced their plans for 24 meg services while Bulldog is expected to announce details of a 20 meg service sometime soon.

Pipex is expected to launch its 24 meg service early in 2006.

In a statement executive chairman Peter Dubens: "The initial orders for unbundling local exchanges have been given to BT and we are confident that this will lead to a greater utilisation of our network, better margins and enhanced product offerings to our customers in the future."

Details of Pipex's LLU plans coincided with the publication of the ISP's interim results for the six months to the end of June.

Turnover was up 47 per cent to £64m compared to £44m during the same period last year. Profit before tax and amortisation rose to £2.5m compared to £2m last year. ®

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