Report: Businesses gain as SDSL prices drop

Prices for symmetric DSL are dropping worldwide, according to a Point Topic report released this month, with most providers becoming more comfortable in offering SDSL as a viable service to businesses.

Although Australia's SDSL prices have not fallen as dramatically as they have in the US and the UK, they remain competitive.

Most operators surveyed in the report have cut their prices in the last year, many by large proportions. Europe's SDSL prices have been cut by up to 70 per cent in both 'entry level' and 'high speed' services.

Price drops are being replicated here in Australia.

Primus has dropped its SDSL price by $100 from last year and now offers SDSL at 512Kbps speeds for $99 per month.

PowerTel's 512Kbps SDSL price remains the same as last year at $240 per month, but this will drop by $100 in June.

Pacific Internet has not changed its SDSL price which remains at $219 per month at 512Kbps.

"Symmetrical DSL [SDSL] for business is still a young market. Take-up is only a few percent of that achieved by Asymmetric DSL [ADSL], which was designed primarily for consumer use," Point Topic publisher, Tim Johnson, said in the research paper, Business DSL service features.

"But the price cuts, increasing competition and growing amount of applications, show business DSL is set to grow rapidly."

Pacific Internet's production manager, Kylie Hutchison, said SDSL prices would continue to drop in Australia as more value-added services specific to SDSL become available.

"IP solutions, like VoIP, will drive the cost of connections down as the overall spend goes up," Hutchison said.

Primus management said that although uptake for SDSL remains slow in Australia, there was definite growth potential depending on demand and coverage.

"When ADSL pricing bottoms out it is possible there might be price movement on SDSL as ISP's try to entice more businesses to it, but coverage would also have to increase for this to happen," a Primus spokesperson said.

Examples of business DSL applications include Voice Over IP, virtual private networks and teleworking.

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