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News on BT Wholesale Max up to 8Mbps ADSL trial
Saturday 05 November 2005 08:18:00 by Andrew Ferguson

The small trial for up to 8Mbps ADSL from BT Wholesale has been running for some months, and as of 30th November 2005 the next trial phase is set to start. This next trial will be much larger, and involve more service providers. At this point in time there are still some questions to be answered, but as and when we have firm details we will publish them.

Pricing for the service providers has been confirmed, with the same pricing as the existing Home/Office products i.e. Datastream Home Max and Office Max @ £7.05 per month and IPstream Home Max @ £8.40 and IPstream Office Max @ £12.40. Of course the service providers for Datastream have the costs of the VP rental from each exchange to add, and for IPstream there is the cost of the users share of the BT Central rental. The identical pricing to the existing ADSL services brings the prospect of the metered products retaining the same pricing but increasing in speed.

During the trial, regrades from existing BT Wholesale ADSL products onto the Max range will be free at the wholesale level, but check with your service provider as some may charge a regrade fee or alter monthly payments as a result of the regrade. For those who want to regrade between Home Max and Office Max products BT Wholesale will charge the ISP the standard £11+VAT regrade fee.

The sync speeds for the Max services are shown below:

Product

Downstream DSL line rate, rate adaptive in 0.5Mbps steps

Upstream DSL line rate, rate adaptive in 32kbps steps

BT Datastream Home Max 288kbps to 8128kbps 64kbps to 448kbps
BT Datastream Office Max 288kbps to 8128kbps 64kbps to 832kbps
BT IPstream Home Max 288kbps to 8128kbps 64kbps to 448kbps
BT IPstream Office Max 288kbps to 8128kbps 64kbps to 832kbps

The sync speed represents the speed your ADSL modem will connect with the exchange, as with existing services there are overheads to this connection. This is why standard 0.5Mbps ADSL connects at 576kbps, so the maximum speed of 8128kbps will actually produce a maximum throughput of around 7233kbps. This is similar to what is seen on other 8Mbps ADSL services.

The observant will have noticed that the downstream line rate starts at 288kbps. The implication of this is that BT are going to allow the Max services to be used on all lines, rather than the Home 2000 lines from the original trial. This is good news as it means for people on longer lines who have a good signal to noise ratio margin, as they may now see speeds like 1Mbps and 1.5Mbps using the Max services. We are awaiting confirmation from BT Wholesale, that lines such as Home 250 and Home 500 will be allowed on the next stage of the trial.

The common question on our forums is will my exchange be on the trial. At this time we do not know and have asked for this information, at least one user has reported the online checker at www.bt.com/broadband is saying that their exchange is part of the MAX ADSL trials, so those keen to take part may want to check their lines number.

While BT Wholesale trialling 8Mbps ADSL may seem very retro now that LLU is rolling out up to 24Mbps services. The size of the BT ADSL customer base does mean a more cautious approach is sensible, and once the trials are over it should see higher speeds being available across a very large swathe of the country rather than the metropolitan areas loved by the LLU providers.

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