BT has announced that it will be offering 'millions' of customers a free broadband boost – doubling headline speeds by upgrading to ADSL 2+ and offering free BT Broadband Accelerators which limit the 'noise' on the phone line.

The key announcement will see 40 per cent of homes offered the potential of 20Mb broadband, with 549 exchanges being upgraded and the potential for another 15 per cent by 2010.

Residential users and businesses alike will also get a boost to their upload speeds with speeds of up to 1Mb/s promised.

Gavin Patterson, chief executive officer, BT Retail said "Unlike other providers, BT is upgrading customers to 20Mb/s for free.

"High-speed broadband provides a faster and more reliable service that will transform the way we live, work, learn and play. We are already the UK's largest retailer of broadband and today's announcement shows that we offer terrific value for money.

Exciting and new

"We believe the true value of broadband is in helping customers enjoy the exciting new services that it makes possible. In line with the Government's Digital Britain review, we will be making higher speeds more widely available."

The details of the offer are that from 'early summer' new or recontracting customers of BT Total Broadband will be offered up to 20Mb (if possible) 'from as little as £7.78 a month'.

Some homes that BT believes are being adversely affected due to the 'noise' on their phone wires within their home will also be provided with a free BT Broadband Accelerator – or the BT I-Plate as it is sometimes known.

''BT Broadband Accelerator, worth £11.74, will be offered free to customers in instances where BT believes performance can be improved. Customers will have to pay £2.50 post & packaging.'

Meanwhile, BT reveals that it will begin its 40Mb service tests in Whitchurch, South Wales and Muswell Hill in London this summer.