Thus has launched a new product called Private Access DSL (PaDSL). This is based around the usual BT Datastream service using In Span Handover (ISH), which keeps the control of the backhual with Thus/Demon. PaDSL is different in that rather than just linking the line into Demon and out to the Internet, you can create private networks effectively, as Demon will take the data into their network, but wall it off so that it remains secure.
The low contention options of 1:1 and 5:1 mean that this private network approach should be good for linking remote sites together, e.g. stores back to the central data warehouse. The data speeds are the usual 512kbps/256kbps and 2Mbps/256kbps, but hopefully once SDSL is out of trial higher upstream speeds will become available too.
Interestingly Thus are offering PaDSL as a wholesale product to other ISPs, who want the ability to offer a service like this, but without the need for the large networks and investment that that requires.
BT Datastream is the product that takes much of the control away from BT Wholesale, in fact for much of the UK it is as close to LLU as you are going to get in the next couple of years. BT Wholesale only controls the DSLAM port, all the issues of contention, quality of service are in the hands of the companies like Thus and Tiscali who are pushing Datastream with ISH. The jury is still out with regards to the price investigation on what BT is charging for the backhaul from each exchange to the handover points, but if BT does reduce this price we can expect to see more 1Mbps and 2Mbps products aimed at home users, and also low contention products for the SME market.
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