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The BT Retail speed regrades - what is happening?
Wednesday 16 February 2005 10:21:00 by Andrew Ferguson

The news that BT Retail is to carry out free speed regrades on its 1.4 million BT Broadband and BT Yahoo! customers has generated a number of questions via email and on our forums. We hope to clarify a few of the issues in this news item.

Firstly we would like to emphasis that the regrades by BT Retail ONLY affect people who have the BT Broadband (often called the 'no-frills' product) or the BT Yahoo!/Openworld ADSL products. Other ISPs will be making their own decisions on whether to offer regrades on their product ranges, a number already have including AOL and PlusNet.

  1. Does this change mean the line will rate adapt to the fastest speed?
    No the regrade is the same as if you ordered the regrade yourself, i.e. it will be onto one of the existing 1Mbps or 2Mbps products. The line sync speed will be controlled by BT Wholesale who run the exchange ADSL kit (DSLAM).
  2. I have heard of MaxDSL is this a new standard?
    MaxDSL is simply a term used to indicate that the ADSL service will be provided at what is considered the fastest stable speed for the line.
  3. Will the line limits be changing again?
    No, the limits are not changing at this time. We may see changes later in 2005, during or after the 4Mbps and 8Mbps trials.
  4. Who decides what speed line I will get?
    BT Wholesale who control the ADSL lines. Doing things like unplugging extensions etc, will not improve your chances of a faster line.
  5. What will happen if I exceed the new BT Retail limits?
    Once the new limits are been enforced if you go over your allowance, the line will still function, but a rate-limit will apply. This means you can continue to use the connection, just that downloads will be slower. There will be an option to buy extra capacity, if you want to run at full speed for the remainder of the month. If a higher capacity product exists, you could regrade onto that to avoid the problem each month.
  6. How many people can get 2Mbps?
    Until everyone has regraded we cannot give exact figures, but estimates suggest perhaps 60% of telephone lines will support 2Mbps with the current BT limits, around 90% should be OK for 1Mbps.
  7. With the new allowances I am dropping from 30GB to 15GB?
    This generally applies to people who have the BT Broadband 1Mbps product, which is slowly being phased out. By default these customers will see a £4 per month reduction in return for the lower allowance, if they want a 30GB allowance they will need to regrade onto a 30GB BT Yahoo! product, which means a rise of £1 per month, but does buy email and other facilities.
  8. I signed up before the limits were mentioned?
    BT Retail introduced the limits into its terms and conditions in the middle of 2004 (see our news here. So users who signed up after July 2004, were signing onto T&Cs that allowed for limits, pre-existing customers had their T&Cs changed at that time. If you feel the new services are a major change to your service then it is best to take this up individually with BT Retail via your usual contact method.

If you have any questions that are not answered here, then feel free to visit our BT Retail forum section and ask away.


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