The future for ISDN looks bleak as telcos migrate to higher bandwidth digital subscriber line (DSL) technologies.
According to the latest report from UK consultancy Ovum, growth of ISDN lines will start to nosedive by 2003.
Kate Hewitt, author of the report, 'Digital Subscriber Lines: the route to broadband', said: ?ISDN is only an interim solution. Once true broadband solutions become available, ISDN?s growth will falter.?
She believes operators will have to choose between introducing ISDN or DSL technologies over traditional copper wires. ?Within the next year and a half telcos will need to decide what they want to do in the long term,? said Hewitt.
Both ISDN and the xDSL family are digital subscriber line technologies but ISDN is a switched service running through the voice switch and so is more expensive. DSL also offers higher bandwidth. For instance, Asynchronous Digital Subcriber Line (ADSL), the most used derivative of DSL technology, offers downstream rates of 6Mbps while ISDN primary rate runs at 2Mbps.
Because of this DSL is better suited to Internet users requiring greater bandwidth to download files. However, it is inefficient for business users, who need the same bandwidth each way for remote access to Lans, for example.
?It will be cheaper for telcos to offer DSL as it does not require traffic to be switched and is an efficient use of their existing networks,? said Hewitt.
But Mark Bullock, BT?s integrated services product manager, said the choice for telcos is not either ISDN or DSL, because ISDN services can be offered over DSL technologies. ?xDSL will undoubtedly come. The question is how quickly,? he said. BT has already trialled the use of ADSL in its recent interactive projects in Colchester.
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