Orange has begun trials of a new 20Mbps home broadband service in the UK, with the intention of offering the higher speeds to new and existing customers in the second half of 2009.
The 20Mbps speeds have been offered to a group of 300 Orange customers who currently subscribe to Orange's 8Mbps service, for no extra charge. Nationwide trials will run for a handful of months, and Orange will monitor network performance and stability before reviewing the trial and, all being well, rolling it out to the public.
Until then, existing Orange customers are not able to sign up to the 20Mbps trials.
How have we gone from 8Mbps to 20Mbps?
These significantly faster speeds are made possible by more modern ADSL2+ technology, and by Local Loop Unbundling (LLU), which lets ISPs install their own equipment inside BTs telephone exchanges, beating the limitations on BT's ageing network.
Virgin Media CTO Howard Watson last year said Virgin Media is looking to roll out 200Mbps broadband to its cable customers by 2012 -- it already offers 50Mbps, but only if you can get cable.