Nortel: Video will drive telcos towards 20Mbps broadband

ADSL providers will have to provide much faster speeds in the battle to keep cable at bay, according to Nortel Networks

Competition from cable companies means that rival fixed-line telcos will soon be forced to offer significantly faster ADSL services than are on the market today, according to Nortel Network's chief technical officer.

Speaking in London on Monday, Nortel's Greg Mumford predicted that broadband services would grow significantly faster over the next few years, as pressure grows from users demanding more innovative features.

"Wireline providers will look to protect themselves from cable companies who offer video services, which will mean DSL speeds will rise to 20Mbps," predicted Mumford at an event launching Nortel's new multiservice provider edge (MPE) range of routers.

"In the US, wireline providers who don't have a video component to their network are working really hard to bring video to the table," Mumford added.

Cable companies have a significant advantage over more established telcos -- they can offer a wider range of services down their network. For example, NTL and Telewest both sell a 'triple-play' of telephony, television and Internet access to their customers, while BT's existing retail services are restricted to just running phone and Internet services over its copper network.

At present, most cable firms use only a small part of their overall bandwidth for broadband -- most of their capacity is used for broadcasting. They would need to redesign their infrastructure if they wanted to support true video-on-demand, something that DSL-provider Video Networks already offers in London.