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    Telecommunications expert and founder of Odyssey Systems, Mike Odysseas has warned that rural areas of the UK would be the biggest losers if the government was to redistribute subsidies supporting the rollout of high-speed broadband.

    Mr Odysseas has spoken out in favour of government support for BT’s rural infrastructure expansion, amidst strong criticism from the UK’s second largest broadband provider, Virgin Media.

    Under subsidies announced in 2012, BT has received almost all of the scheme’s state aid, which has helped take national coverage of fibre optic broadband in the UK to approximately 90 per cent. However, Virgin Media are calling for the second, £500m phase to be halted as other private sector companies feel they are more than capable to match BT’s provision.

    Mr Odysseas has voiced concerns over Virgin Media’s claim and said: “BT is perfectly-placed to deliver high-speed broadband to rural areas and difficult urban zones as a result of decades of investment in communications infrastructure.

    “Virgin’s position on the matter is a direct contradiction of its business model, which only serves resident areas and limited commercial locations, which already have access to high-quality coverage. If the government was to press pause on BT’s rollout, a large number of rural businesses would remain without adequate broadband for at least another three years.

    “The government’s decision to utilise BT and its existing infrastructure, is a sound business move that will help deliver an accelerated programme, which bolsters the UK’s broadband network. Any plan to alter this subsidy scheme would prove disastrous for technology-reliant companies in hard to reach locations.”


    Telecommunications specialist Mike Odysseas is warning that a large proportion of businesses will be seriously affected by BT’s decision to switch off the ISDN network by 2025.

    Mike, who is managing director of Stockton-based Odyssey Systems, believes the lack of publicity surrounding this issue will lead to companies making considerable investment in telephone systems that will have a limited lifespan.

    The ISDN network has been the most common system of delivering phone lines for more than 20 years.  According to the most recent statistics from 2013, there were more than 3.2 million ISDN channels in the UK.

    BT has confirmed that it intends to migrate all customers on to an internet-based IP network in the next ten years. However, it has yet to make great strides in informing businesses of the change.

    With the growth of superfast broadband the pace of migration of IP-based telephone systems has increased dramatically with businesses benefitting from hosted-telephony delivered through the internet.

    However, Mike believes that more than 70 percent of businesses will be affected by the planned switch off.  This not only includes those already on the traditional platform, but also businesses investing in their operations or moving to new premises or that will be targeted by providers selling ISDN systems.

    Mike Odysseas said: “With very little information out there about the switch off there is a danger that businesses will spend money on a system that will become obsolete very quickly.

    “There will be providers still offering ISDN systems and without the right knowledge their customers will be sleeping walking into throwing their money away.

    “I believe there are around 70 percent of businesses that will be affected by this decision, which demonstrates how significant the impact will be on companies and concerning that this decision was only announced within a recent BT financial results announcement.

    “In business terms, ten years is not a long time and, in fact, the switchover will take a lot longer than expected so companies really need to start thinking about this now.  For example, a company with an ISDN system that has 120 users could take about six months to fully migrate across to an IP system.

    “While ISDN has served businesses well for many years, hosted telephony is the future and is an investment that will last firms beyond the ISDN switch off deadline and more likely another decade after 2025.”