BT has finally announced a London trial of broadband Symmetric Digital Subscriber Line (SDSL) beginning in the autumn.
The telco is offering broadband SDSL in 41 exchanges throughout the capital in conjunction with service provider Bulldog, a long time critic of BT's role in delaying local loop unbundling.
The technology enables users to send and receive information down copper lines at the same speeds, unlike ADSL in which the downstream speed significantly exceeds upload rates.
This makes it ideal for applications such as virtual private networks, email and website hosting.
Jon Furmston, director of marketing for small to medium sized enterprises at BT, said: "This will combine voice and internet on one circuit and allow leased line quality at an affordable price for smaller companies."
He explained that pricing will depend on negotiations between BT Retail, Bulldog and BT Wholesale which provides the voice services.
"We have not yet decided on the final price but it will be more expensive than ADSL and cheaper than leased lines," said Furmston.
Nicholas Blades, principal analyst at Schema, indicated that the service is overdue and is needed to fill a gap in the market.
"Small businesses can use ADSL and large businesses can afford leased lines, and this will address the area in between," he explained.
Blades also pointed out that the competition will lead to price cuts. "It will cannibalise the leased lines market," he said. "The margins on them are high so, if BT opens up SDSL, people will get the same service at a lower cost."
Furmston said: "We are not really cannibalising our leased line business because it will open up the service to lots of smaller companies where leased lines are not economical."
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