O2 announced today that Be, its wholly-owned broadband unit and one of the most innovative and technically-advanced UK broadband networks, has today unbundled its 500th exchange increasing the coverage to 33% of UK households. This announcement comes after Be’s recent nomination for ‘Best Consumer Broadband’ in the ISPA Awards. The awards are renowned for their independence and last year Be walked away with the accolade of being voted ‘Best Sumo Consumer Broadband’. ‘We don’t think of broadband as just something to throw in for free. Proper broadband takes continual innovation and focus,’ said Matthew Key, CEO of O2 UK. ‘We are working at unbundling 200 more exchanges by June and we are already testing new technologies that will enhance the network and our speed.’

Innovation is key to Be and it recently launched Annex M as standard for Be Office users. Annex M increases the upload speed to a potential 2.5 meg which is the fastest upload speed available in the UK. Be will soon be offering Annex M to home users, another first for the UK. Be was the first internet service provider to adopt the ADSL2+ technology. Depending on distance and quality of the copper line from the telephone exchange and other environmental factors ADSL2+ can provide speeds of up to 24 meg – 3 times faster than the fastest speed currently offered by BT and many other large ISPs.

The driving force for the company is a desire to bring innovative, useful technology to market as soon as it becomes available. Since launching, Be has pushed the technological boundaries and provided members with simple, cheap, reliable internet access at the fastest speeds the UK infrastructure can deliver. Investment in the Be is continuous and the team have been growing capacity and industrialising the existing network. To guarantee the Be promise of extending capacity to meet demand, Be has upgraded its central core ring from 1 Gig to 10 Gigs, improved redundancy, and added an extra Internet Transit provider to ensure the best possible experience for its members.

Be’s high speed internet access is changing the way their members are using the internet. Customer feedback highlights a shift away from television to watching TV via the internet. The higher speeds are also changing the way they communicate. Blogging, streaming video, downloading films and VoIP are already well established activities and the unlimited usage offered with both the Be Office and Be Home products are fuelling their experimentation with new ways of using the internet. Be Broadband is on target to reach over 800 exchanges by the end of the summer which gives 50% population coverage of the UK while the rest of the population being covered off via a wholesale deal with BT.

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