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BT plans 80Mbps broadband boost as it announces soaring profits

Zoom! That's the sound of your broadband connection speeding up. BT is boosting broadband speeds to 80Mbps this year, in the wake of increased profits and a fillip in new customers.

Zoom! That's the sound of your broadband connection speeding up. BT is boosting broadband speeds to 80Mbps this year, in the wake of increased profits and a fillip in new customers.

BT will boost the speed of broadband connections to a maximum speed of 80Mbps. BT's current fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) service, BT Infinity, can in theory offer 40Mbps. Virgin Media offers 100Mbps service, while a super-fast fibre network is being planned for rural areas.

The 80Mbps upgrade will happen at the end of the year, if trials go well. The new super-fast service will then be extended across BT's entire FTTC network in 2012. It isn't a physical upgrade, with BT increasing the amount of optical spectrum allocated within the fibre services to 17MHz from 7MHz -- so the upgrade is almost cost-free.

BT reckons it's currently getting super-fast broadband to 80,000 homes and premises every week.

Super-fast speeds are all very well, but there has been debate recently over whether speed is the most important factor. Regulator Ofcom upbraided ISPs delivering less than half the speed advertised, with the maximum speeds trumpeted in adverts bearing little relation to the actual speeds you get.

The company claims 64 per cent of people signing up to broadband are choosing BT. Overall sales are down but it's doubled its profits in the last three months, with a 71 per cent increase in the last year. BT raked in £20bn last year, turning a profit of £1.72bn. It does still face a £3.2bn hole in its pension fund, currently the subject of regulatory and court proceedings.

Are you a BT customer? How does the grand old British institution shape up against other Internet providers? Let us know in the comments or on our Facebook wall.