Thus, the communications provider, is trialling new technology that could result in leased-line quality DSL connectivity by the end of the year.
Currently, the firm is conducting internal trials for an ADSL product called DataStream, and plans to offer defined, ultra-low contention ratios with 1:1 connections to corporate customers.
Thus claims its network investment over the last two years means that prices will not be markedly different from current levels, but that quality will be much improved. It claims its backbone is capable of providing 1.9 Terabits per second.
The DSL offering has been made possible by an aggregation agreement with BT by Thus, Colt and Energis that allows the trio to move packets of data off BT's network onto their own as close as possible to the user's geographical base.
DataStream is effectively an ATM connection to the customer. So rather than using IP over Ethernet, ATM is used throughout to get data across the network. The technology allows DSL traffic to be picked up from different points in BT's network, so an operator with its own infrastructure does not need to lease infrastructure from BT.
Communication providers pick up DSL traffic at BT's regional exchanges, which usually also contain an ATM node - or connection point to BT's ATM network - eliminating the need for the operator to buy STM-1 connections.
The ATM level interconnect will also allow an operator to increase the number of interconnect points to BT's network, as there are around 80 of these exchanges in the UK. Thus, Colt and Energis operate networks that link to a large proportion of these exchanges.
This gives communications providers a lot more flexibility in terms of the services they can offer, such as better contention ratios.
Thus currently has 22 locations in the UK where the network hand-over could be introduced, although these are likely to be phased in one-by-one.
"Getting through the hurdle of aggregation will allow us to offer pretty nifty DSL," said Phil Male, executive director of operations at Thus.
Technical trials for DataStream are scheduled to finish this summer, with Thus then focusing on processing ready for a launch Male hopes will be this year.
Once ADSL DataStream is up and running, Thus is considering DataStream SDSL, which opens up the possibility for network managers of dedicated DSL pipes with equal upstream and downstream capabilities.
Due to a ruling by Oftel last December, BT is mandated to offer symmetric services and different ATM traffic content types including constant bit rate (CBR) and real-time variable bit rate (RT-VBR).
Tim Greening-Jackson, Thus DSL product manager, said the most exciting thing about CBR is that it can be used to deliver lease-line capabilities over DSL.
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