BT offers free speed upgrade to stay competitive

BT realizes that if it's going to stay on even footing with its broadband rivals it will need to increase the speed of its DSL service. U.K.'s incumbent operator is offering its customers a 20 Mbps download speed upgrade and upstream speeds of 1 Mbps to about 40 percent of the U.K. homes and businesses. Prior to this upgrade, BT had been offering an 8 Mbps download service. In addition, BT will offer eligible customers a device that will mitigate electrical interference on broadband lines, which it claims can increase speeds by about 1.5 Mbps.

Despite the initial joy over the free upgrade to the 20 Mbps service, there are some catches. For one, customers will have to sign a new contract to get the upgrade. And, while BT's new offering will put it on a more even footing with its broadband competition, it still trails Virgin Media's DOCSIS 3.0-based 50 Mbps service that was launched earlier this summer.

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