Ofcom has been pretty upbeat about the potential of the current copper landlines in a recent announcement; the communications watchdog reckons that the lines can sustain maximum transfer speeds of 50mbps, but only in theory.
Households with upstream modems hosted in an exchange within 2kms away could, in theory, receive data at speeds around 50mbps.
But if the modem is moved closer to the customer premises and into the street cabinet, then almost all of the households (compared to only one in five in the previous scenario) would benefit from 50mbps speeds.
Now that's interesting because only last month, there were rumours that BSkyB was testing this exact configuration (having fiber optic cables plugged into green kerbside street boxes) in East London to reach speeds of 50mbps.
Obviously, speeds reached also depend on a number of factors like the conditions of the wires inside a person's house - whether it has been oxidised or not - the number of connections on that line etc.
'Nevertheless, the real value of this study is to suggest an upper limit, given all technical progress possible, of 50Mbit/s, with fibre to the cabinet,' Ofcom wisely agreed.