Network users can now run non-IP protocols using Ethernet over BT's 21CN IP network at speeds up to 1Gbit/s for around half the cost of BT Megastream connections.
Neil Sutton, BT's proposition and capability director, said the Etherflow product, as it is known, is aimed at high-end users such as international companies, retailers, police forces and central and local government agencies.
"These customers often have global, national and regional tiered networks, often with data replication needs, but would like a single core network," he said.
He said customers could buy capacity in 1Mbit/s chunks from 10Mbit/s up to 100Mbit/s, and in 10Mbit/s chunks for speeds up to 1Gbit/s.
BT is pricing Etherflow aggressively. "We worked on a quotation for a Scottish law firm recently. It worked out at £26,000 a year on Megastream, but £13,000 a year on Etherflow," said Sutton.
With Etherflow a user can double their bandwidth for a 20% cost increase, he said. Customers can also tune their capacity requirements month by month, and BT is working on a plan to let them do this day by day.
BT is offering Etherflow both managed and unmanaged. "It depends on users' skills levels," he said. "For instance, if they don't want to be bothered with managing their IP addresses, we can do it for them."
The service uses a combination of fibre and copper cables. Sutton said that by March next year 600 exchanges covering 90% of the country would have gigabit capacity. It will offer international Etherflow services from 2009.