The BT Kilostream service provided independent low to very low bitrate services to business, local authorities, retail, industry and operators of critical infrastructure. The bitrates ranged from 2.4kb up to 1024 kb.
From 2006, BT began planning the phasing out their Kilostream service, and after a few extensions to the time frame, decided that March 2020 would see the end of support for Kilostream. With the underlying infrastructure being over 30 years old, it had reached end of life and spares were becoming unavailable. Some users of the service were impacted earlier than others as BT dropped very low data rate services and settled on only supporting rates of 64kb, 128kb, 256kb and 512kb to the end of life date.
What are the advantages of using Kilostream?
There are many characteristics to BT’s Kilostream that deemed it attractive to clients, including:
- Independence from the public internet
- An uncontended service i.e. no rate throttling
- Low latency – important for operators of critical infrastructure and services
- Symmetrical data rates
- Offers low data rates reliably
Despite the notice given by BT to Kilostream customers many have not acted or considered what to do to replace this service. The characteristics of the public internet do not compare with those of the Kilostream service and other solutions need to be sought if the same level of service and security is to be maintained.
Kilostream replacement options
There are two main approaches to replacing Kilostream. The first is a cabled fibre solution, where operator sites are interconnected by fibre optic cables. The second, a radio-based solution. Each has its pros and cons.
Cabled fibre solution
Fibre can be prohibitively expensive where no fibre route is currently available. It meets most of the characteristics which make Kilostream attractive. However, where the data rate requirements are low, the cost per kilobit used will be high as fibre is by nature a high capacity solution and you may be paying for unused capacity. For high capacity requirements the cost per Kilobit used reduces and fibre can come into its own. Fibre networks are, in general, highly secure.
Radio solutions come in several forms including point-to-point or point-to-multipoint microwave solutions. These options meet the characteristics of the Kilostream service and benefit from flexibility in capacity which can be tailored to suit low data rate requirements. Both licensed and unlicensed radio solutions are options. The decision of which one to use depends upon location, with licensed options being preferred as licensing offers a degree of immunity to interference. Digital radio links are encrypted, highly secure and have high availability.
If you are looking for a Kilostream replacement speak with our team here at MMX, where the most appropriate and cost-effective solution can be identified and delivered for you.