IPstream is the most highly used wholesale broadband Internet service in the United Kingdom. BT Wholesale sells the service to ISPs and IPTV providers, who use it to provide ADSL services to customers over Openreach telephone lines.
The IPstream product covers the transport of data between the end-user's premises and an interconnect point of the ISPs choice, such as their main colocation facility, which is served by one or more links called BT Centrals. BT has operational control of the network for tasks such as load balancing. Transit of data to and from the internet, along with other services such as email servers, are the responsibility of the ISP.
IPStream is widely used by ISPs because it is cheaper to set up and costs less in maintenance than the ISP building its own network. This is balanced by the fact that usage costs for ISPs are higher using IPstream than their own network. Datastream is the similar system where ISPs in the UK use BT equipment but use their own IP transport.
BT Wholesale pays Openreach for access to the local loop and the exchange. The alternative to IPStream is local loop unbundling, in which the ISP obtains these facilities from Openreach directly, and makes its own arrangements for onward carriage of the data stream.
Similar services are offered in other countries where there is a single dominant telecommunications provider, such as wholesale DSL from Telstra in Australia.
- IPstream Terms and conditions from BT