Next-Generation Access (NGA) services promise to deliver affordable connectivity and improved performance. NGA will affect various services, including internet access, MultiProtocol Label Switching, VPNs and voice and video over IP and many companies will require help to adopt NGA services.
NGA will help companies future-proof their networks and meet stricter quality of service requirements in terms of packet loss, delay and jitter.
The channel should start offering NGA services where possible. The alternative is losing customers to rivals who have adopted the latest technologies.
Yet some NGA services are not even available yet. For example, Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) trials have only been running since August and only in selected areas, and there are no national published plans regarding the rollout of Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP).
Similarly, ADSL2+ services are rolling out across the UK, and should be available everywhere from 2012. FTTP promises a maximum of 100Mbit/s, FTTC 40Mbit/s downstream and 5Mbit/s upstream, and ADSL2+ 24Mbit/s.
The channel must educate organisations about the practicality of adopting NGA services over the next few years. This means having a number of options including both FTTC and ADSL2+ to offer, alongside other offerings such as Ethernet in the First Mile (EFM) that are not subject to the same geographical limitations.
EFM uses equipment at the customer site to bond multiple copper pairs together on a standard Ethernet port. Because of its widespread availability and scalability, EFM can provide businesses with higher throughput and more predictable performance today.
To capitalise on the improvements planned for the UK’s communications infrastructure, the channel must remain competitive and credible. The Digital Britain report and BT’s recently announced FTTP plans have made businesses aware of the benefits of these technologies but NGA services have to be delivered by the channel.
Neil Watson is director of indirect channels at Viatel
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