BT will nearly double the number of UK homes and businesses that can receive super-fast broadband services over its copper lines by extending the reach of its next-generation network to cover 75 percent of the country.

According to The Times 40 percent of UK homes and businesses are currently covered by BT's fast copper network that offers speeds of up to 24Mbps (megabits a second) but BT Wholesale is set to announce that it will almost double the reach of the network by Spring 2011.

BT also announced that around 140,000 homes currently located in 'notspots' could be getting broadband access thanks to Broadband Enabling Technology (BET).

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The ISP is currently testing a super-fast broadband service, which offers users speeds of up to 40Mbps, in Muswell Hill in London and Whitchurch in Cardiff.

It planned to extend the trial to other areas of the UK, including Scotland next year.

However, complaints from Muswell Hill residents over the cabinets that house the fibre cables has encouraged BT to concentrate its efforts on the Scottish trial in Glasgow.

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The superfast broadband network will offer speeds of up to 40Mbps or even 100Mbps if the fibre is connected directly to the home. Virgin Media's cable network offers speeds of up to 50Mbps.

A proposed £6 broadband tax that will fund the installation of a next-generation fibre network in the UK will go ahead before the next election, says the government.

Treasury Minister Stephen Timms said it was his aim to legislate for 50p per month charge on copper telephone lines "this side of a general election" during a British Computer Society debate.

Timms also revealed the tax would raise £150m to £175m a year.

Carrie-Ann Skinner contributed to this article.

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