BT's new faster broadband service will cost from £19.99 per month, it's been announced today.
The group's Retail division will sell connections based on fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) technology as "BT Infinity", theoretically capable of downstream speeds of up to 40Mbit/s.
There will be a £50 connection charge for the basic package, which will upload at up to 2Mbit/s and a 20GB per month usage allowance. The other package, costing £24.99 per month, will be connected for free, upload at up to 10Mbit/s and have no data cap. Both require an 18-month contract and come with a free Home Hub.
Ongoing network upgrade work to lay fibre between local exchanges and a new generation of streetside cabinets means the packages will be available to about four million homes by the end of the year.
In reality, because it uses existing copper and aluminium wires into premises, BT's service is typically likely to offer 20 to 30Mbit/s downstream. For most its performance is likely to rank between to Virgin Media's 20Mbit/s "XL" package, which costs £20 per month, and the 50Mbit/s "XXL" at £28 per month.
The technology has been trialled at Muswell Hill, Whitchurch and Glasgow Halfway exchanges. Regulations mean BT has to allow other retailers to sell services via its upgraded network.
BT Openreach plans its £1.5bn fibre upgrade programme will cover 40 per cent of the country - or about 10 million premises - by mid-2012. Three quarters of the upgrades will be FTTC, with the rest getting full fibre-to-the-premises, offering about 100Mbit/s initially and theoretically capable of 1Gbit/s.
Pricing for FTTP hasn't yet been announced.
The areas earmarked for FTTC upgrades this year have so far mostly been densely populated, where the return on investment will be highest. Those connected to completed exchanges will be able to order faster broadband from Monday.
There is more information on BT Infinity, including an availability checker, here. ®