Connect hooks up customers to SHDSL

Traditional users of ISDN or DDS services and businesses looking for a reliable high-speed alternative will be the biggest winners from symmetrical broadband services, it is claimed.

Connect Internet Solutions senior product manager, permanent access, Steve Mcgrory said organisations that will benefit from SHDSL traditionally had ISDN or DDS services, which was a higher cost service.

"These organisations require guarantees, reliability and have business critical applications. With ADSL and cable, we haven't seen this quality of service available," Mcgrory said.

Mcgrory's comments follow the launch of Connect's own SHDSL (symmetrical high bit rate digital subscriber line) offering. The service was developed in conjunction with wholesale carrier XYZed, and is supported by Connect's own network. Connect, in turn, purchases its network infrastructure from parent company and tier one telco AAPT.

One of the primary reasons for selecting SHDSL over existing broadband technologies such as ADSL is the higher reliability of the technology. Mcgrory said that unlike ADSL, which is based on a variety of standards worldwide, SHDSL is based on international standards, which in turn are endorsed by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). Connect's new service utilises the internationally adopted g.SHDSL standard, which allows interoperability between proprietary and standards-based DSL technologies.

The directConnect premium service is available at speeds between 64Kbps and 2Mbps, both upstream and downstream. Pricing consists of four components: an installation fee, monthly infrastructure fee, data download fees and the costs of the router. Customers also have the choice of an Ethernet or Frame Relay connection.

Installation charges (including modem) range from $1600 to $1800, while monthly fees vary, depending on the size, location and speed of the connection. Customers who require the lower-end 64Kbps connection, for example, can expect to pay $250 per month for access, while higher-speed users who opt for the full 2Mbps will be charged $995 per month. Customers situated outside the CBD but within the metro area will also pay an additional $50 per month, and regional users an extra $100.

Data usage rates also vary, depending on the customer's needs. The more data the customer commits to per month, the more the discount per megabyte, Mcgrory said.

Independent computer security consulting and risk management specialist e-secure is one of the first businesses in Australia to sign up for the Connect SHDSL service. e-secure chief technology officer Jason Wood said the decision to opt for SHDSL was driven by the high bandwidth provided on the service, as well as the ability to download and upload large files at its offices in Australia and Asia-Pacific.

Mcgrory says Connect's new SHDSL offering will suit a range of business, from local government agencies and single-location SOHOs to large corporate organisations with subsidiary offices. Other organisations that will benefit from symmetrical broadband services include those hosting their own Web sites, or generating traffic across a virtual private network (VPN).

As well as attracting new customers, Connect also hopes to migrate its existing customers onto the new broadband platform - 80 to 90 per cent of which currently use ISDN and DDS service.

The directConnect SHDSL offering is now available in NSW, Victoria and Queensland. Connect hopes to launch the service in Western Australia and South Australia within the next 12 months.

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