BT Wholesale has released notes to the service providers describing its plans for a Downstream Quality of Service (QoS) control on the BT Wholesale IPStream ADSL products. The timetable would appear to be a trial during the 2nd or 3rd Quarter of 2005, with a launch after that if the trial goes well.
The QoS control is designed to provide an assured rate on the downstream side of the service, examples for its use would be to ensure a video stream plays smoothly with no stalls. The system will work such that the ISP interfaces to the BT Wholesale systems and books the session, i.e. what bit rate and for how long it is required. It will be up to the service providers to develop interfaces to allow customers to decide what they want. The mechanisms will be built on top of the End User Speed Control capabilities that are to be made available to providers. Obviously a QoS control will cost money, and BT Wholesale will bill the ISP for each session booked. More details for those interested in the technicalities are at www.sinet.bt.com, the relevant documents are SPIN 089 and STIN 427.
One can envisage the situation, whereby you have an ISP supplying a Video On Demand service running at perhaps 1.5Mbps, the user decides to watch the movie, and the speed of the line is boosted to 2Mbps, and the QoS switched on. The end-user doesn't have to worry about the techie bits, they have simply paid their £2.50 to view the film. With the advent of digital PVRs and rights management, we may even see options to download a film at a slower rate for £1 per film, and watch it once it has downloaded anytime in a seven day period. Or alternatively pay the higher rate and watch it 'live' but for a higher price.
A future development may be the launch of a 'Low Latency Assured Rate', which would give an assured bit rate, with a defined maximum latency across the BT Wholesale network. An option like this would appeal to the growing online gaming community, particularly those who take part in Clan matches.
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