BT has taken the wraps off its new fast broadband offering for homes, its attempt to catch up with fibre-optic connections offered by Virgin Media. The company is claiming that its new service will be cheaper and faster than its cable competitor.

BT Infinity, which will offer download speeds of up to 40Mbps will cost from £19.99 a month said BT. The company also claimed that its upstream speeds, going to 10Mbps, will be more than six times faster than Virgin Media's fastest service.

The company is also launching a super-fast broadband service for businesses = Business Total Broadband Fibre, also offering 40Mbps and which the company is promoting as step towards cloud computing.

The launch of BT Infinity follows successful trials in Muswell Hill, Whitchurch, south Wales and Glasgow. BT said the service should be available in four million homes by the end of the year,.

Gavin Patterson, chief executive officer, BT Retail, said: "The internet is essential to our customers' lives and they are demanding more and more as richer and even more compelling services become available. BT Infinity gives customers the capacity and reliability they need in an instant and at a great value price they can afford. We want to give our customers the best possible online experience and are committed to rolling out super-fast speeds across the UK."