BT’s new ‘high-speed’ 21CN broadband service has been unveiled, and it seems the taps have already been turned on at 39 exchanges in Birmingham and the Black Country, the first in the UK. I’ll be interested to hear from any readers on an existing uncapped BT Total 8mb/s connection — are you being automatically switched up to the higher speed, or are you being invited to buy into a new and even more expensive contract?

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Stoke-on-Trent has to wait over a year, with a switch-on date of 19th May 2009 šŸ™ However, maybe I shouldn’t be too disappointed, since PC Pro magazine reported in March 08 that many won’t see the 18Mb/s ‘headline’ speed…

“BT has provided some alarming insights into how speeds will continue to fall well below the theoretical maximum … on the 21CN network.

It showed a model of a typical ADSL2+ connection that was 2.5km from the local exchange achieving actual speeds of only 5-6Mb/sec – just a third of the theoretical maximum, and no better than many people experience today.”

So it looks like the UK is stuck with real-world broadband speeds of between 4 and 14mb/s for the foreseeable future. Don’t invest in ‘high-quality telly-over-broadband’ any time soon.

In the meantime, parts of Sweden reportedly get 100Gb/s, and use the heat from the routers to dry laundry…

“Last summer a 75-year-old woman from central Sweden became the envy of the IT world with her scorching 40Gbps internet connection. 1,500 simultaneous HDTV channels or a whole high definition DVD downloaded in two seconds were hers for the taking. Now Sigbritt Lothberg could soon be treated to an incredible 100 Gbps link — but it may not be put to great use. According to the head of the ultra-fast fiber connection project, Sigbritt mostly used the gear ‘to dry her laundry.'”