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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 26 March, 2003, 10:09 GMT
Faster net services on the way
The net is getting quicker in the UK as cable firm Telewest launches a superfast service and BT also speeds up its broadband offering.

Pipe being attached to an internet port
Bigger pipes will offer faster broadband speeds
Other countries, most notably South Korea, have net speeds that are up to ten times as fast as the standard in Europe.

As broadband grows in popularity so does the need for even more speed, as bandwidth-hungry applications such as downloading music and video attract more people.

Cable firm Telewest was one of the first UK internet service providers to offer a one megabit per second service (twice the speed of BT's broadband) last summer.

Downloads in seconds

It has proved surprisingly popular, with around 10% of Telewest's 250,000 broadband customers upgrading despite the higher cost of between 35 and 39.

"Now it is time to shift up another gear, offering our customers the option of going even faster with the natural bandwidth benefits of a cable connection," said Managing Director of Telewest Gavin Patterson.

THE SPEED TEST
Downloading 5 megabyte MP3 music track - 12 minutes on dial-up connection
1 minute 18 seconds on standard broadband connection
39 seconds on 1 megabit connection
19.5 seconds on 2 megabit connection
The two megabit per second service (mbps) will be trialled among 1,500 customers around the UK.

No price has yet been decided for the service.

Users will be able to download a three-minute video clip that is 1.5 megabytes in around 6 seconds, an MP3 music track of 5 megabytes in around 20 seconds and a 10 megabyte software file in around 38 seconds.

Telewest can easily offer up to 10 mbps, using its cable infrastructure although it has no plans to carry on increasing the bandwidth.

Targeting one million

"We are not going to keep on launching more and more bandwidth but as the applications for more speed become available then we will look to provide higher speeds," said Mr Patterson.

Telewest's network only extends to 22% of the UK and the majority of households are reliant on broadband technology supplied by BT.

BT has also realised that there is an appetite for faster services and in the autumn it will trial a one megabit service.

It hopes to launch the service commercially by the end of the year.

BT now has more than 750,000 users connected to ADSL either via its own service providers or via other ISPs such as Freeserve and AOL.

It is on target for the one million broadband customers it hopes to have gained by the summer.


SEE ALSO:
Broadband access leaps ahead
19 Mar 03 |  Technology
BT boss bets on broadband
20 Feb 03 |  Technology
Broadband goes electric
13 Feb 03 |  Technology
Broadband proves a winner
28 Jan 03 |  Technology
Britain catches the broadband bug
27 Dec 02 |  Technology


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