This week British Telecom signalled the end of an era by announcing that consumer ISDN is to be scrapped in the UK. BT's Home Highway product was introduced back in 1999 as the digital product to connect consumers to the Internet. The wall boxes integrated ISDN BRI and regular PSTN sockets to give data and voice, with power from the network for one socket in case of power failure (lifeline).

But of course ISDN as an Internet technology is pretty irrelevant for most folks now, with 2 or even 8 Mbps broaband connections available for a fraction of the running cost. ISDN for consumers in the UK never reached the penetration levels of countries like Germany and Norway, and the prices stayed high relative to standard PSTN lines. This week BT also announced that they are once again the biggest ADSL provider in the UK (displacing Virgin), so this is where their consumer Internet efforts are going now.

Demand for Home Highway must have been in decline for some years, as only niche ISDN users and those that couldn't get broadband (for reasons of reach and availability) would still be buying it. Now those that need to use ISDN (such as broadcasters, who still use it for remote working) will need to switch to BT's more expensive business BRI service, ISDN 2e.

Goodbye to Home Highway.