UK Online has launched what it claims is the UK's first 8Mb consumer DSL service.

Called Broadband 8000, it will cost £39.99 per month – and a £50 setup charge. The previous fastest consumer service in the UK was 4Mb, claims UK Online.

The company will be able to offer the service to 18 per cent of the UK population – 4.4 million homes. So far the 8Mb service is available from four exchanges; Walton-on-Thames, Surrey; Kingswood, East of Bristol; St Albans, Hertfordshire and Dinsdale in the Midlands.

CTO of UK Online Justin Fielder told Digital-Lifestyles: "8Mb is the fastest service that can offered in the UK with current regulation. Faster services, such as ADSL 2+, would require approval from UK regulator, OFCOM. ADSL 2+ uses higher frequencies, so it needs to be ensured that these would not cause interference within the network.

"This process is currently being undertaken by OFCOM and when complete, promises speeds of up to 18-24Mb. Fielder tell us that upgrading their customers to that, would only require a software update at the exchange and a new modem which would be shipped to the customer.

Up North

Telewest Broadband has expanded its broadband cable reach in the North West of England.

132,000 homes in Chorley, Preston and Liverpool, will now be able to get high-speed Internet and digital TV services.

Telewest Broadband president and chief operating officer Eric Tveter said: "We're thrilled that over 130,000 households will now be able to experience our broadband internet and digital TV products. Customers have been asking us to make these services available and we've been keen to satisfy this demand."

The Telewest broadband Internet service costs £30 a month, including digital TV and telephone. Call 0800 953 5000 for more information.