It has been a while coming, but it is here now, and is to be available on 230 exchanges around the UK. What is it? Well 8Mbps ADSL, with a 400kbps upstream for a price of just £39.99 a month. More details on their website at www.ukonline.net/8000.
The service has a connection fee of £50, and is advertised as a contention ratio of 33:1. The service is based around the EasyNet LLU exchanges, and as such has a fairly wide spread around the UK, see a map here. The EasyNet LLU exchanges cover around 4.4 million households, or 18% of the UK. UK Online also run their own phone number checker, so people can check whether their specific exchange is enabled. As one expects with a very high speed DSL service, the range over which it will work is limited. The range is around 2km which UK Online estimate to be around 50% of homes on the exchanges. If your line does not manage the 8Mbps, they will actually install the service at the best speed possible, so if you live further out you may only see a 6Mbps or 4Mbps service.
The service is subject to some usage restrictions, which boils down to 4 Gigabytes per day, which does not seem unreasonable. Most importantly it appears that there is some flexibility in this, since they say they are only worried about regular usage in excess of this figure.
2005 had the promise of being the year of LLU, and it looks like it is going to get off to a cracking start. With the recent speed upgrades on the cable services, the UK should now look slightly less 1998, and more 21st century in terms of broadband speeds. It would seem UK Online are not just content with high speed Internet access, they are looking at adding voice and video on demand services during 2005.
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