Be Broadband, the ISP owned by O2's parent company, Telefonica, have announced today the successful completion of their bonded broadband trial which ran on the London Paddington exchange. The trial was mainly aimed at understanding the technical capabilities involved using ADSL2+ over two telephone lines which were bonded together to make one line. Customers reported real-world speeds of between 30Mbps and 45Mbps- just 5Mbps shy of Virgin's headline 50meg speed. Be will be carrying out further trials through 2009.
A single twisted pair copper phone line is limited in how fast it can transfer data, and connecting multiple lines together is one solution to try and increase the bandwidth without deploying equipment closer to the exchange such as in the BT FTTC trials. One drawback of bonding is that you will need to pay for two telephone lines, one for each DSL line, which will increase the cost. DSL does also vary speed depending on the distance from the exchange (unlike the Virgin cable services) and so the highest speeds will only be available to those who live the closest.
"We want to push the limits of high-speed broadband. We already offer the fastest possible broadband on an ADSL line, but we want to take it a step further. If you want broadband around the 50Mb mark but don’t want to go the cable route, Be wants to offer you a real alternative."Felix Geyr, (Managing Director) Be Broadband
One point worth making is that although Be services are not limited to the area of the Virgin cable network, many of the exchanges where Be provide service will overlap with Virgin, and this will also leave many areas of the UK unable to get either Virgin's 50meg of the Be bonded broadband. Competition will breed new services though and if other providers are able to offer similar services to Virgin's 50meg soon, maybe Virgin will be forced to up the speed sooner than they thought if they want to keep the crown of fastest broadband.