BT Wholesale are planning the phase out of BT IPStream products which should be completed by Spring 2014 according to Trefor Davies, CTO of Timico. BT IPStream was the initial starting block of ADSL broadband in the UK which was released mid-2000. The original broadband products were available at speeds of 0.5, 1 and 2Mbps with a 256Kbps upstream speed. Later upgrades to the platform have allowed users to reach broadband speeds of up-to 8meg (IPStream Max).
BT IPStream is currently delivered over BT's old 20th century network (20CN) and by migrating away from the platform, it will help the company provide a more unified service over 21CN, whilst ensuring the older exchanges finally get updated. There will also be cost savings from not having to support the old network, particularly with the old hardware vendors (Fujitsu and Alcatel for the DSLAM's) ceasing support. DataStream, which provided a handover point at the ATM layer, is also being withdrawn, and there are to be industry discussions about the withdrawal of SDSL products.
This sounds like good news for users who are currently on older up-to 8meg products as they should see an upgrade to the now industry standard up-to 24meg broadband which is available over ADSL2+ on BT's 21CN. It's possible some exchanges could skip straight ahead to fibre products such as fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) or fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) (which offer up-to 100meg and up-to 40meg respectively which may also act as the replacement for SDSL. The withdrawal of the older products will be the end of an era, but also signifies the progress that has been made with broadband in the UK.
Update - 01/07/2011 11:30
We have been advised that of a correction to the above. Whilst Datastream is being withdrawn nationwide, the IPStream services are only being withdrawn within the 21CN WBC footprint. This means that exchanges that haven't been upgraded with 21CN will continue to receive IPStream services into 2014 and beyond. Unfortunately this does mean that some of the country may be stuck on 'up-to' 8meg ADSL for some years to come.