Tag: Annex M

BT: You are doing it wrong.

On the other side of the pond, BT recently turned on Annex M support in their ADSL2+ network in the UK. Annex M is an ADSL2+ configuration profile that allows for a trade of downstream speed for more upstream speed on a broadband connection. BT’s fee for Annex M: £7, or almost $11 per month to their wholesale ISP customers.

Network World covered the story, and the folks at Entanet are pretty positive about the new capability. Entanet offers wholesale access to BT’s ADSL2+ network, and they say to ISPs who use the network, regarding Annex M, “Most importantly – How do you make money from it?”

BT and Entanet are missing the point. Annex M is a capability without a cost in the edge of the network, and the right way to do it is to include it as a flexible option for customers at no charge.

Yes, bandwidth costs money. But BT provides layer-2 hand off of broadband end users to ISPs, so the ISP covers the cost of any additional upstream bandwidth usage. BT’s £7 fee is just to turn on the Annex M feature – they have no additional costs for bandwidth.

The folks at ThinkBroadband call out this quote from BT’s spokesperson. (Note: “our customers” refers to ISPs that BT wholesales to.)

“Annex M allows our customers to expand their portfolio and so find themselves in a better position to tailor – and differentiate – their broadband services by matching them more precisely to the needs of individual businesses. Annex M is just one of the one of the number of broadband developments to help our customers deliver an ever better customer experience and grow their sales in the mixed economy marketplace.”
Colin Annette, (Client Director) BT Communication Service Provider Group

Hint: “tailor – and differentiate” are code words for “charge more”.

BT misses the point.

The opportunity BT ignores is the opportunity to deliver flexibility to the customer. Let the customer choose if they want more downstream (Annex A) or more upstream (Annex M). The carriers edge costs are the same!

There is no reasonable basis for a £7 fee, BT is just doing their own “tailoring” – to their customers wallets.

Fusion Annex M available for testing in Santa Rosa

For Fusion customers served out of the two Santa Rosa central offices (COs), we now support Annex M ADSL2+ profiles, in addition to the standard Annex A. Switching to Annex M can provide higher upstream speeds of up to 2.5Mbps per pair, though generally at the expense of some amount of downstream.

The Annex M profile option is in beta test, and the capability may come and go as we wrap up the deployment, so please do not rely upon it at this time. Your loop may not perform better with Annex M than with the standard Annex A profile. We encourage you to experiment and select the profile that you prefer for stability and speed. Loops which prove not to work well with Annex M cannot be “fixed” to do so, and an Annex A profile should be your expectation if the loop is unreliable with a Annex M profile. Loop performance is influenced by many factors.

Due to the decrease in downstream speed associated with switching from the Annex A profile to the Annex M profile, we anticipate that it will be something users may wish to turn on and off as needed, for example before a really large upload or off-site backup. Today, our customer support group can turn on Annex M in the network, and then you can enable and disable it in your modem in order to turn on and off the Annex M support. In future, we anticipate releasing a member tool that will allow you to toggle the setting in our network, allowing you to avoid changing your modem settings locally each time.

For more information on Annex M and details on how you can enable it, see the Annex M FAQ.

Annex M support will be coming to our other central offices in the near future.

For those interested in details about the technology, you can read more on Wikipedia about Annex M, and about ADSL2+.