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Be Broadband doubles down on ADSL to catch cable

'Up to' 48Mbit/s trials

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In the wake of Virgin Media's 50Mbit/s launch yesterday, O2-owned Be Broadband is pushing copper wires to their limits by trialling technology that will double bandwidth available via ADSL2+.

The ISP has been trialling the service with customers connected to the BT Paddington exchange in London since September. Triallists' homes were fitted with two new phone lines and the broadband signals from both combined and split by a special router.

The firm said today that triallists reported real world speeds of between 30 and 45Mbit/s downstream. It now plans wider trials in 2009. There's no indication yet whether the service will be made commercially available.

The potential to increase bandwidth via line bonding was designed into ADSL2+; the improved broadband standard that Be Broadband was among the first in the UK to deploy. A single ADSL2+ line runs at "up to" 24Mbits/s with the speed dropping off dramatically the further a subscriber lives from their local telephone exchange.

Managing director Felix Geyr said: "If you want broadband around the 50Mbit/s mark but don't want to go the cable route, Be wants to offer you a real alternative."

The Virgin Media cable network covers about 12.6 million premises and no expansion is planned. Be Broadband's coverage is limited only by which BT exchanges it installs equipment inside. According to Samknows it currently covers about 17.6m premises. ®

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