BT is planning to quadruple basic broadband connectivity speeds to 8mbps nationwide.
The company will start trials of its ADSL Broadband Max service next month in Cornwall, South Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and London. These trials will be gradually expanded and BT expects to roll out a national 8mbps service from spring 2006.
Earlier this year BT quadrupled the basic broadband connectivity speed from 500kbps to 2mbps. The latest planned jump will see BT reach the theoretical top ADSL speeds it mentioned when first launching broadband services in 2000.
Cameron Rejali, managing director for products and strategy at BT Wholesale, said, "BT is committed to ensuring everyone benefits from the broadband revolution, whether they live in valleys, villages or city centres."
BT's move is essential if it is to remain competitive against the newly merged cable companies Telewest and NTL. They are already offering users speeds of more than 8mbps for no extra charge on existing broadband subscriptions.
Cable & Wireless subsidiary Bulldog is also building a nationwide 8mbps broadband network.
BT has also started trialling optical fibre broadband services in Wales, where strands of blown fibre connect businesses to ultra-high-bandwidth services using existing telegraph poles.
This avoids BT having to dig optical fibre trenches to the user and cuts the cost of delivering optical services in "the last mile".