Property developers are starting to take a look at high-speed data services for new housing projects.
Tony Krzyzewski, managing director of Auckland communications company Kaon Technology, says he is talking to developers interested in installing ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) technology in two new subdivisions. ADSL enables users up to download data at up to 9Mbit/s and upload at 1Mbit/s maximum (compared to 128Kbit/s both ways using primary-rate ISDN).
Krzyzewski, who can’t give details because of commercial sensitivity, says key services for housing will now include data communications, as well as power, water and telephone.
Kaon, which distributes ADSL modems and equipment by UK company ATML (Advanced Telecommunications Modules), is also trying to boost interest in ADSL among telecommunications companies.
ATML product manager Stefan Knight says telcos can use ADSL to deliver high-bandwidth ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) services over their existing copper telephone wire networks.
“ADSL is a way of extending ATM technology to the home,” says Knight.
“Because ATM uses switched circuits, carriers can assign different levels of quality to different circuits and offer different services, with different pricing. It’s a new way for carriers to differentiate themselves.”
Knight says carriers are working out pricing for ATM over ADSL but in initial roll-outs 1.5Mbit/s download and 384Kbit/s upload services are priced at $US60 to $US100 a month.
Singaporean carrier SingTel has just launched such a service, using ATML equipment. The telco is offering high-speed data and real-time applications such as video and e-commerce, as well as interactive government transactions (e.g. tax returns).
“SingTel is aiming at 100,000 users this year. Apart from PCs with ATML modems they will also be offering Acorn set-top boxes,” says Knight, who believes ATM over ADSL is poised for explosive growth.
“The killer app for ADSL is teleworking — companies are willing to pay for it. ADSL was originally developed by BellCorp as a way to deliver video-on-demand but nobody wanted it and it died off. Then the Internet emerged and people said let’s get on to the Internet at high speed. But once again, no one would pay. The application that has really taken off is remote computing. Companies are willing to pay when they realise how much they can save on space and electricity, and how much they gain in productivity.”
Knight says ADSL is supremely suited to teleworking because it uses existing copper wires, and allows both voice and data services over the same line. Home workers can be online without tying up the phone line. In order to get home users connected to ATM networks over ADSL as seamlessly as possible, ATML has come out with an ethernet/ATM ADSL network card aimed at home users.
“Typically people have their home PCs connected to an external ADSL modem which is connected via the telephone wire to an access multiplexer in a central office.
“We’ve developed an ethernet/ATM card which goes in the PC. By offering ethernet, we give people a comfort zone although ATM affords data, telephony and fax on the same line whereas with ethernet you’re pretty limited to data.
“We know most people aren’t used to having a network card in their home PC so we’ve made it very simple to install and the software makes it a one-button install.
“We’re treating it like the cellular phone market where you have the instructions on the box from the carrier.”