New codec and ADSL2+ on the way from HomeChoice
The Register has a long item on what HomeChoice is likely to get up to in the coming months. It seems that they are gearing up to switch from the MPEG2 to the MPEG4 standard using a H.264 video codec. The H.264 codec generally produces a better quality image from a 2Mbps stream than the MPEG2 codec.
Perhaps most exciting is the potential deployment of ADSL2+ on their LLU network. Currently due to HomeChoice using a downstream speed of around 4.5Mbps their range is only about 2km from the exchange. In London this is not a massive issue, but if they are to roll-out to the less densely populated areas of London or other cities, the extension in reach from ADSL2+ will be welcome. One minor snag is that at present ADSL2/ADSL2+ is not allowed to be deployed due to the regulations. For ADSL2+ to be deployed into the local loop, agreement needs to be reached between Ofcom, BT and other operators to ensure that everyones competing services do not interfere with each other. Trilogy Telecom is another provider that looks close to deploying ADSL2+ into the UK local loop, particularly in the Cambourne exchange area as part of a sub-loop unbundling deal. They have ADSL2 and SDSL being deployed in 20 exchanges around Cambridgeshire. There is also Bulldog who are talking up the possibility of rolling out an ADSL2+ service in the future.
HomeChoices planned roll-out to another 70 exchanges should boost take-up, which stands at a fairly low 3,000 users. This is out of around 13,000 LLU customers across the whole of the UK. HomeChoice are hoping to have 25,000 customers by the end of 2004.