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Tiscali touts 'voice-ready' business broadband

Targeting SMEs who're ready to move on from ISDN

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Tiscali is targeting ISDN users looking to move to broadband with a DSL package that provides carrier-class voice quality for up to four IP phone calls.

The service provider said that as well as prioritising voice traffic over its network and guaranteeing enough bandwidth in each direction for four voice calls, its Voice-Ready Premium Broadband service includes BT's enhanced support option for faster fixes if it goes wrong, and guarantees on packet loss, jitter and latency.

"We've been doing this for enterprises for years, but only as part of a VPN - this is the first time you can buy it through the channel," said Tiscali product marketing director Lance Spencer.

The package will be sold to resellers through distributors Gamma Telecom and Griffin, both of which will roll in access to their VOIP gateways for PSTN and other voice services.

It starts out as a basic 512kbit/s up and 256kbit/s down DSL, but with no contention and the addition of quality of service (QoS), Spencer said. He added that business traffic is prioritised on the Tiscali core network - and of course its distributors are also connected to that over fat pipes, so customers have a clear route into those VOIP gateways.

Pricing will be set by the distribution channel, Spencer said, but "it should retail competitively with ISDN - it's equivalent to two ISDNs, but with a lower installation cost, and faster installation too. It's a next-generation alternative to ISDN, which is becoming obsolete."

But surely a single DSL is cheaper to deliver than two ISDNs, even with the addition of QoS? Is Tiscali profiteering at the expense of smaller businesses who know they have to get off ISDN before long?

Spencer argued that there are still savings to be had. "Calls will be at least 15 percent cheaper, plus there's carrier-select options on top," he said, noting that it also brings broadband access.

"It's a different use of broadband," he added. "It's the voice-ready part that interesting, that and the guaranteed QoS - no-one else can offer that. You could use Skype for Business, say, but then you can't guarantee QoS." ®

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