Many years ago, NTL in the UK bundled a twisted pair copper wire into its home connections, alongside co-ax. Now, the company has decided that these very short twisted pair loops, which are for the most part just 1,000 feet from fiber, can carry ADSL2+ to good effect. This means that NTL is in a position to supply a 24 Mbps route to each of the eight million homes its cable passes, for a total investment of just £50m ($96m).

There are issues with ADSL2+, including the fact that under real world conditions it doesn’t always achieve the speeds and distances that it promises in the labs, for various reasons usually relating to the quality of copper, but it is supposed to give something over 24 Mbps downstream over 1,000 meters of copper, using a 2.2 MHz signal. The topology of the NTL network however means that the ADSL2+ link doesn’t have far to go far and its recent financial presentation suggests that 95 per cent of it is under 1,000 meters.

Rival company BT has issued statements saying that it will be offering ADSL2+ services as well, beginning later this year, but says that they will be at 18 Mbps.