News about the BT Wholesale I-Plate is hardly new, it was announced in April 2008. The I-Plate is designed to remove the interference that the ring wire used in telephone extensions can introduce to the ADSL signal.
Todays press release from BT Wholesale informs us that the I-Plate is finally available to broadband providers, but warns it may take some time for providers to start offering the plate. How long this time frame will be is unclear, the I-Plate has been available from a number of sources for sometime, and one would hope all sensible providers had looked into it, and it is just a case of deciding how to retail the product.
The I-Plate is of course only of benefit to those with telephone extensions and a BT NTE5 master socket. If you have an older style faceplate, and you want to fit a master socket this can be done for a fee by Openreach by contacting your telephone line rental provider. People with the newer Openreach branded faceplate will already have the I-Plate components built into the faceplate. The improvements possible will vary greatly from line to line, but the survey by BT Wholesale suggesting typical speed improvements of 1.5Mbps on some 7 out of 10 lines are backed up by the evidence we've seen over the years from people carrying out DIY improvements to their telephone extension wiring.
It has been well known for sometime that simply removing the ring wire (connected to pin 3 on faceplate) at the master socket can improve many peoples ADSL connection speeds. The I-Plate while it may cost some money, may prove simpler for people to fit and given the confusion with the wide variety of wiring methods used in phone extensions this is probably a good thing.
Exactly what price providers will charge for the I-Plate is not known, but current retail prices are £10 to £20, suggesting it is supplied for well under £10 at the wholesale level. This price point means providers could add it as a free device to be sent to those with broadband speed issues when their home wiring is suspected as the problem. For those with ADSL2+ the state of your phone wiring in the home is even more important, so fitting an ADSL master socket faceplate, removing the ring wire or fitting an I-Plate may help to squeeze yet more speed from the line, or failing that make things more stable.