BT is expanding trials of symmetrical digital subscriber line (SDSL) services from the current 22 exchanges to 100, before the launch of a commercial service in August.
The trial of SDSL, which allows data to be downloaded and uploaded at the same speed, started in October 2002 at sites across London.
It has now been extended to include locations in Scotland and metropolitan areas such as Greater Manchester, Liverpool, Yorkshire and the Midlands. The trials will run until August, after which the commercial service will launch.
The planned trials will be used to test different applications suited to different markets and are likely to include internet access, data transfer, audio and video-conferencing, remote database access and teleworking.
Exact locations will be placed on BT's Broadband website in the coming weeks.
BT will offer four different bandwidth rates - 256kbps, 512kbps, 1Mbps and 2Mbps - and two different types of service.
The first, BT IPStream Symmetric, will allow internet service providers (ISPs) to develop their own packages and deliver them to end-users.
The second, BT DataStream Symmetric, is aimed at ISPs and large companies that want to run their own local area networks or virtual private networks.
The telco will also run a pilot scheme of its 1Mbps broadband wholesale service to let ISPs provide high-speed connections to consumers. If there is enough interest, BT plans to roll out the wholesale service commercially by the end of the year.
BT has also announced trigger levels for 102 exchanges across the country that have not been included in broadband roll-out before. A BT spokesman told vnunet.com that there had been a huge level of interest generated in these regions.
There are also plans to extend the availability of ADSL further. BT believes the technology's reach can be extended beyond the current 5.5km radius around exchanges to 6km, without reducing the quality of the service.
If successful, this will bring about two-thirds of customers currently out of reach into the coverage areas.
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