World Online intends to plough £50 million into a British broadband network that the company says will be up and running by December.

Initial broadband services will be restricted to BT’s wholesale ADSL package but World Online is promising products based on its own network in July 2001, when the last mile of copper into homes - the so-called local loop - is formally unbundled.

World Online is based in 16 countries and currently boasts 3.7 million registered subscribers.