Mega broadband goes live today

Forget using your phone as a symbol of your social standing - soon your bandwidth will become the real status symbol to flash. Following at a frighte

Forget using your phone as a symbol of your social standing - soon your bandwidth will become the real status symbol to flash.

Following at a frightening rate of bytes after Be launched 24Mbps broadband in London and Wanadoo announced it's starting 8Mbps over ADSL 2+, UK Online has now pledged to offer 22Mbps for the entire nation.

We use the phrase 'entire nation' subjectively. As the ISP itself admits, the lightning fast headline rate of 22 will only be available to those who live closest to telephone exchanges. If you live several miles away, the speed will taper off - how close you need to be isn't yet clear, but UK Online does have a speed-by-postcode test on its website.

The next burning question on your lips - it was on ours - is what you'd actually need 22Mbps for. Between the Stuff team we have everything from 1 to 8Mbps and even those of us on 2 have been happily able to simultaneously stream video, play on Xbox Live and make Skype calls.

Today, the only real use we can think of is for shared homes where three or more mates will all be surfing, making net phone calls and playing games online. When high-def video streaming over the web kicks off, however, it'll suddenly come into its own and look mighty attractive.

The other big implication for UK Online's annoucement is that when Sky launches its broadband on-demand stuff, it should be running at 22Mbps - UK Online is owned by Easynet, a company Sky bought just a few weeks ago [story here].

UK Online's mega broadband's available today - it'll set you back a surprisingly reasonable £30 a month.

Related stories:

Be's 24Mbps broadband

T-Mobile to overtake home broadband by 2007

Photo taken by Jan Tik.