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Telekom’s T-DSL details emerge

By | October 24, 2001

      SES Multimedia has disclosed details of the satellite-based, high-speed Internet access service it plans to launch with Deutsche Telekom as an alternative to the latter’s conventional telephone line-based broadband service T-DSL.

      At an exclusive press luncheon which took place last week during Medientage Munchen, Germany’s largest media conference, SES Multimedia’s director general Christian Schock told Interspace’s German correspondent Jorn Krieger that the service is expected to launch at the beginning of May 2002, with trials commencing next month. During the field test, SES and Telekom will aim to gather experiences about the commercialisation and pricing of the regular service.

      According to Markus Fritz, managing director of Astra Marketing Germany, it is possible that the return channel, for which a modem or ISDN connection through the conventional telephone line will be used, may be offered in the form of an unmetered flat rate. Such a move would prevent households opting for T-DSL via satellite from being disadvantaged compared to those that have chosen the standard T-DSL variant in which both the forward and return line are routed through the telephone line. For these, Telekom offers a flat rate of E25.1 a month. Fritz stressed, however, that the decision on whether the return channel will be offered through a flat rate or on a per-minute charge basis would be made by Telekom and not SES.

      A flat rate solution would put an end to Telekom’s much-criticised refusal to offer flat rates to users of analogue modems or ISDN cards. By following this strategy, the Bonn- based company – in the view of industry observers – aims to both secure high penetration for its T-DSL service and a large chunk of the broadband market ahead of the new owners of its former regional cable networks.

      Pricing details of the “T-DSL powered by Astra” service are likely to be announced at the CeBIT computer fair in Hannover in spring 2002. According to Schlock, SES may offer similar DSL via satellite solutions in other European countries after the launch in Germany.

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