BT Wholesale has finally launched its business-oriented SDSL broadband service, following a 12 month- trial at 100 exchanges around the UK. According to BT spokesman Francis King, 12 ISPs were involved in the trials and both the timing and pricing of their launches depends on them.

BT said available data rates will be 250Kbit/s, 500Kbit/s, 1Mbit/s and 2Mbit/s, with prices starting at £450 per month for all data rates plus a maximum of £1,440 annual rental, rising to a maximum of £3,000 as bandwidth increases.

The package will be branded as BT DataStream Symmetric and BT IPStream Symmetric. At first, it will be limited to 100 exchanges serving metropolitan areas in London, Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Yorkshire, the West Midlands and Scotland, with 50 further exchanges to be enabled by January 2004. According to BT, details of the exchanges to be upgraded for SDSL in this phase of rollout are being finalised and should be confirmed by the end of October.

Bruce Stanford, director BT Wholesale products, said: "The launch of our broadband symmetric products strengthens the portfolio of business-class broadband products which service providers can offer to their customers. Demand is expected to be strong as SMEs can gain real competitive advantage from using this broadband capability.”

"The next phase of BT Wholesale's broadband symmetric rollout has been designed to help service providers address market demand and to meet their customers' needs."