Low cost SHDSL is taking over from ISDN and LES for high-bandwidth connectivity in local government, says Net to Net Technologies

December 16, 2003

3 Min Read

NEWBURY, U.K. -- High-speed data connectivity using SHDSL over copper lines is replacing ISDN and LAN Extension Services as the most cost effective method of providing Internet and remote site connectivity in the UK.

Increasingly local government organisations are using a loophole in the BT regulations to create their own networks using high-speed connections that were originally intended for use as private circuits for monitoring burglar alarms. These Engineering Performance Specification (EPS) circuits are standard copper lines that under OFTEL agreements have to be made available to customers by BT at a relatively low cost.

BT does not offer an EPS/SHDSL solution but instead promotes its own ISDN and LAN Extension Services (LES). According to its 2002 accounts, BT has now installed more than 3.7 million ISDN channels and an undisclosed number of LES lines. Based on the BT pricelist, ISDN has an initial installation cost of around £7,500 plus annual charges of £7000 for a 128k link. The entry level BT LES –2 solution has an initial cost of £10500 plus an annual £1600 rental charge for a 2mb connection.

In comparison, a 4km link between two business sites or a business site and an ISP using an EPS line and a SHDSL router costs £1936 for equipment and installation plus a £744 annual rental charge with data rates varying from 2mb – 4mb depending on the quality of the copper and whether single or bonded lines are used. This makes an EPS/SHDSL solution up to 80% cheaper on initial costs and 50%-80% cheaper in annual charges than ISDN and LAN Extension Services.

According to Kevin Howarth, Director of Business Development at Accoda Limited, a leading EPS/SHDSL solution provider, it knows of 67 of the 437 local government territories who have already installed low cost EPS line based SHDSL links as opposed to either ISDN or LES,

“The main reason is simply cost." said Howarth, "We have one customer that has linked up all the schools and libraries in the district for about a quarter of the cost of either an LES or ISDN solution with considerably more available bandwidth. They are not tied into a single equipment provider, the hardware uses open standards so they can upgrade or change supplier and they are not tied into 3 year contracts for the lines.”

Howarth estimates that around 22% of local government organisations have either implemented or are evaluating SHDSL solutions but that many more are still ignorant of the potential cost savings.

“It’s not surprising that the use of EPS lines for high-speed data is still relatively unknown. Large carriers such as BT have no vested interest in promoting its use as it makes very little profit when compared to ISDN or LAN extension services.” Howarth adds.

Keith Hoult, Managing Director EMEA from Net to Net Technologies Ltd, a leading vendor of DSL switches added, “We have shipped around 6000 SHDSL based units to UK customers through our Partners and the majority of these are deployed in local government organisations.”

Net to Net Technologies Inc.

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