BT has revealed it plans to upgrade the UK's existing copper network so it can offer speeds of up to 20Mbps.

The telecommunications company says the upgrade to its ADSL2+ copper broadband service, called Wholesale Broadband Connect (WBC), will be rolled to around 80 percent of the UK by the end of 2011.

At present, 1,017 exchanges in the UK, which serve more than 15.5 million premises, support the WBC service, which offers speeds of 'up to' 8Mbps and is used by ISPs including TalkTalk and PlusNet. BT says it is upgrading some 30,000 line a week.

Cameron Rejali, managing director of products, at BT Wholesale, said: "This announcement is further evidence of BT's commitment to deliver next generation services across the UK".

"Running over BT's 21st Century Network, WBC offers communications providers the ability to provide their broadband customers with greater control, choice and flexibility as well as higher speeds. It supports the growing demand for high-speed broadband access to a range of online services – including TV, gaming online and multiple voice over internet protocol (VoIP) services.

BT also revealed it now has 1,000 live fibre Ethernet nodes in the UK, which form part of its £2.5bn plan to roll-out fibre net access to two thirds of the country by 2015. The telecoms company hopes it will have 1,090 fibre nodes by the end of the year.