BT Wholesale looking at both VDSL and ADSL2+
BT Wholesale is playing its cards fairly close to its chest in regards to where it is heading with its next generation broadband services. More details are over at ZDNet who have been talking to BT Wholesale's MD of products and strategy - Cameron Rejali.
One of the issues that governs the speed at which BT rolls out speed improvements in its network is the pressure to offer the service across as many exchanges as possible, and the level of coverage it will achieve on each exchange. Mr Rejali seems to think that VDSL is going to offer a better footprint in terms of coverage than the ADSL2+ roll-outs underway by LLU providers.
Of course one issue is that for simple tasks as web browsing there is not the big difference between a 1Mbps connection and a 10Mbps connection, as there was between a dial-up 56kbps connection and a 0.5Mbps ADSL connection. The higher broadband speeds will develop new services such as TV on Demand and video telephony - to some extent how these will be used and work will require education of both the end-users and service providers themselves. Also high demand bandwidth applications may require remodeling of the charging models at a wholesale level also.
Some interesting little bits in the footnotes of the ZDNet article are comments that new tools for BT Wholesale customers (the service providers) are on the way. This includes better diagnostics, content delivery and rights management - certainly there have been trials for QoS controls allowing people to buy a higher quality of service for a short period to allow a movie to stream smoothly for example.
VDSL has featured in BT's thinking for some years, and it was interesting to see that one of the big things in the changes to the ANFP approved earlier in 2005, was a method whereby VSDL and ADSL2+ could co-exist in the same cable bundles (copy of ANFP located here). BT has a number of low key trials looking at its broadband options, which include small DSLAM's in cabinets at the side of the road, through to fibre all the way to the home. For some background reading on VDSL, and how it may work in the UK some weekend reading material follows. An Ofcom report on the cost of BT UK Local Loop which discusses how VDSL can fit in with the UK regulatory model. DSLForum.org has a simple tutorial on VDSL that can be found here. A good document by Kevin Foster of BT Exact in 2001, showing how BT envisaged the deployment of VDSL is available here.