Broadband News

BT Wholesale to trial broadband at up to 18Mbps

BT Wholesale has released details of what it plans to trial product wise during 2005, and also some reductions in ADSL pricing. The relevant BT press release can be found here..

The key points are:

  • Plan to start a trial in April 2005, whereby lines capable of 2Mbps now, will be used to deliver whatever speed the line is capable of between 2Mbps and 8Mbps. Product launches should hopefully be in the Autumn of 2005.
  • An initial trial of ADSL2+ technology to support speeds up to 18Mbps. This trial is in response to the recent proposals to alter the Access Network Frequency Plan (ANFP) to permit the use of ADSL2+ in BT's copper network.
  • Reductions in wholesale cost of IPStream services, in areas where high demand has lead to cost savings. A proposed rebate of around £1.10 per BT IPStream Home user per month, and £1.40 for each BT IPStream Office and S based connection is planned. The rebate will be direct to the service provider, and it is up to them to decide whether to pass this onto the end-user.
  • BT Datastream services will be reduced in price to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.
  • Other than the high demand rebate, there are no expectations from BT that the standard BT IPStream pricing will change in the next 12 months. Though we may see some shuffling around to help with take-up of higher speed services.
  • Fully unbundled copper lines, (e.g. such as Bulldog use), will see a further reduction in the monthly line rental the provider pays. This will be in proportion to the reduced IPStream charges.

The public is likely to be most excited by the prospect of speeds in excess of 2Mbps, the main advantage of BT Wholesale providing this sort of service will be the widespread availability of it around the UK. As yet there is no indication of what speeds will be offered on the upstream, but it is almost certainly going to be higher than 0.25Mbps on an 8Mbps service. Over the next few weeks we expect more details to filter out on speeds and location of trials.

The nature of the price reductions, on IPStream, Datastream and LLU products means that it is almost impossible to second guess what ISPs will do. Some may absorb the reductions and enjoy an improved profit margin, others may offer small reductions in the monthly fee, or on the metered services increase the usage allowance accordingly.

Todays news appears to offer something to most sectors in the UK DSL market, and can be seen as a direct response to continued high levels of take-up for broadband services, and particularly the popularity of the emerging LLU consumer services.


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