Although the kind of 1Gbit/s broadband service that is a reality in Japan remains but a pipe dream for most people, the Brits can look forward to super-fast 60Mbit/s broadband real soon now. National telecoms carrier BT has announced that it will be installing upgrades to no less than 29 telephone exchanges as part of a fibre to the cabinet overhaul during the course of the year.

To put that into some kind of context, broadband running at 60 megabits per second across your telephone line is around 8 times as fast as the absolute maximum BT can provide today.

The BT Openreach installations are due to go live by early 2010, covering around 40 percent of UK homes and businesses by 2012, although there are plans for trials of the technology in both London and Wales during the coming summer months.

The FTTC technology achieves the high speeds courtesy of bringing thin optical fibre from the exchange to the street cabinet, with copper lines providing the last few metres to the door. By reducing the distance, in many cases down from a couple of kilometres to a few metres, higher-frequency signals are achievable and thus more data can be carried.

In a double whammy of good news for Brit broadband users, BT also announced that it will be implementing an up to 24Mbit/s ADSL2+ upgrade for every exchange over existing copper lines.

Of course, this should all be read in the context of a recent UK government report which suggested that many people can expect broadband access at maximum speeds of 2Mbit/s in the years to come.

Anyone reading this in the UK will probably want to know which exchanges are to get the FTTC 60Mbit/s upgrades in the first wave, so here is the full list:

  • Belfast Balmoral
  • Bury
  • Calder Valley
  • Canonbury
  • Cardiff
  • Chelmsford
  • Chingford
  • Dean
  • Didsbury
  • Edmonton
  • Enfield
  • Failsworth
  • Glasgow Halfway
  • Glasgow Western
  • Halifax
  • Heaton Moor
  • Hemel Hempstead
  • Highams Park
  • Leagrave
  • Luton
  • Oldham
  • Pudsey
  • Rusholm
  • St Albans
  • Taffs Well
  • Thamesmead
  • Tottenham
  • Watford
  • Woolwich