BT Retail has published its pricing for a retail Symmetric service on its Serviceview site. The publication of the pricing for notification to Ofcom, suggests that the full launch is not far away.
Symmetric DSL (SDSL) has been available for some months now, but BT Retail has not offered it as nan option, it has generally being the smaller more business focused ISPs. SDSL others identical speeds in both the upstream and downstream directions, which makes it attractive to companies wanting to connect lots of home workers to a company LAN using virtual private networking (VPN's).
The products will collectively be known as BT Business Broadband Advanced and is available in three speeds, 0.5Mbps, 1Mbps and 2Mbps all at a contention ratio of 10:1. The pricing is £170/month for 0.5Mbps, £230/month for 1Mbps and £345/month for 2Mbps (all pricing excludes VAT). When you consider that a simple 64kbps leased line can cost £250/month the pricing does not look so bad. The connection fee is somewhat higher than the standard ADSL charges at £595, but this does include the installation of a dedicated copper pair to run the connection over. There are no PSTN voice rental charges, since an SDSL line will not support a voice line.
One surprise is that the service comes as standard with a static IP address, but blocks of 5 and 13 use-able IPs are available for £10 or £20/month extra. Given the high monthly fees one would have thought at least the 5 IP block would be a simple one-off admin fee charge. A number of ADSL ISPs already offer blocks of 5 IPs free to customers who need them.
One major hurdle at present is the low number of exchanges that SDSL is available on, only around 150 exchanges in major urban areas. In that respect it is competing on an almost one to one basis with LLU providers like EasyNet and Bulldog.
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