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Thus Expands ADSL Product Range
Monday 21 October 2002 09:19:00 by Andrew Ferguson

Thus has today launched a new range of ADSL products. The range is sold under the Demon ISP brand, and forms the 'Demon Premier Express' range. The new products on offer range from a 512kbps 5:1 contention product @ £100/month, through to a 2Mbps product with 1:1 contention @ £600/month. Initially the product will be available to a limited geographic area covering Central London exchanges, although roll-out across the rest of the country is planned for the future.

This new product range is different from any other ADSL product in that while it uses the BT Wholesale DSLAMs at the exchange, the actual data connection is handed over onto a Thus ATM network for forward transit into Demons IP network. The BT side of the product is based around the BT Datastream product range. This brings many advantages to Thus/Demon which can be passed onto business users, namely Demon remain in total control of the IP layer and are also able to accurately control the contention ratios. These abilities mean Demon should be able to offer a product which is approaching leased line quality but for a fraction of the price.

This product range is the first fruits from the Oftel ruling allowing other Teleco's to use 'In Span Handover' (ISH) to link the BT ATM network to another Teleco's network. The advantage of this to ISPs is that Quality of Service can be improved and services made more attractive to businesses without the massive capital investment that Local Loop Unbundling requires. The future may be that eventually Teleco's do install their own LLU hardware, for example to offer higher than 2Mbps connections, but ISH offers a workable middle ground. One exciting prospect for ISH is that it will encourage products like Voice Over DSL (VoDSL).

The three Demon products that are available for the launch are (all prices exclude VAT):

Demon Premier Express Plus
512kbps Downstream, 256kbps Upstream
£50 connection and £100/month subscription.
5:1 contention ratio.
NAT and NON-NAT options, with SMTP or POP3 mail delivery.

Demon Premier Express Pro
2Mbps Downstream, 256kbps Upstream
£50 connection and £200/month subscription.
5:1 contention ratio.
NAT and NON-NAT options, with SMTP or POP3 mail delivery.

Demon Premier Express Gold
2Mbps Downstream, 256kbps Upstream
£50 connection and £600/month subscription.
1:1 contention ratio.
NON-NAT based product, with SMTP or POP3 mail delivery.
Four IP addresses.

All three products are self-install, hence the low connection fees, and include access to Demons 24x7 technical support.

It is encouraging to see new DSL products appearing, admittedly this range is aimed squarely at the SME business market and that market is screaming for lower cost Internet access products, but still want the reliability and lack of restrictions that a leased line provide. By offering low contention products the long term performance which businesses are often concerned about is ensured. As the number of users on the basic BT Wholesale products increases we will see the effects of contention increasing and at last companies now have a choice.

Hopefully more companies will come up with products that cater for the specific needs of different sections of the market. The BT Wholesale ADSL products are fairly static and offer little room for innovation, with a little luck this will trigger the start of a rising trend.

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