NTL has begun testing broadband delivery using the ADSL2+ standard, which can deliver up to 18Mbps connection speeds over existing copper lines.
ADSL2+, or G.992.5, has been around for two years, but the system is only just coming into use across Europe.
While it can supply much higher speeds than standard DSL, those speeds drop off sharply in proportion with the distance to the exchange. Any more than 2.5km and speeds drop below levels achievable with conventional DSL.
"We have been getting speeds in excess of 18Mbps," NTL spokesman Malcom Padley told vnunet.com. "It is not a commercial product as yet but it has been a useful trial. What the final commercial service will run at is not clear at the moment."
Padley claimed that NTL's decision to run fibre directly into UK streets would give the company an edge over BT, which is planning on offering similar services later in the year.
Some 95 per cent of NTL's network is within half a kilometre of subscribers' homes, according to the firm, compared to five per cent for BT which has fibre only to its exchanges.
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