BT upgrades broadband speeds for all

BT has pushed the big red "upgrade" button on all its subscribers accounts, pumping up pipes to 20Mb/s in "enabled areas". Those areas cover, according to the company, 40% of the UK's homes and businesses.

Up till now, customers were stuck on 8Mb/s speeds, slower than many of BT's competitors. The company is now matching most of its competition, though Virgin Media offers a 50 Mb/s option. Upload speeds are increasing too, going from 448Kb/s to 1Mb/s. That'll help people with tasks like putting video on YouTube, online gaming and sending large emails.

Lastly, BT's also releasing a little gadget that reduces the impact of electrical interference on broadband lines. The company says that the BT Broadband Accelerator could improve line speeds by as much as 1.5Mb/s, because one of the main causes of slow net connections is home wiring.

Speed upgrades for customers will be available on the BT site shortly and you won't pay any extra for it, though sneakily you'll need to sign a new contract to get access. The Broadband Accelerator is free to anyone who wants it, though you'll need to pay postage.