NEW YORK, June 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- BT's transformation of its
network to deliver the next generation of communications services took a step
forward today with the announcement of a pilot for the switch-over of voice
calls to an end to end IP (Internet Protocol) based network.
BT also announced trials of niche deployments of fibre to the premises,
aimed at testing the technical and commercial issues involved.
BT Wholesale chief executive Paul Reynolds said: "We've been talking about
our vision for our 21st century network and today marks the start of the
transition from planning stage to physical implementation.
"The 21CN programme will deliver today's services at better cost by
removing duplication in our networks and underpin the delivery of services
customers will want in the future. For customers, the end result will be a
complete experience -- one based on convenience and ease of use of all
communications services including mobility, video, data services and voice."
As a precursor to large scale migration of voice and other PSTN based
services from 2006, the first stage in the migration pilot will involve the
bypass of the core PSTN network link between two major network nodes at
Cambridge and Woolwich. An extension is planned later to Faraday exchange in
From October 2004, BT will divert voice calls between these network nodes
to the 21CN specific IP network. Calls will be carried using IP packet
technology rather than the circuit switched technology used on PSTN. The
switch-over will be seamless from the customer's perspective and service
quality will be the same or better than on PSTN.
The next stage of this pilot involves the installation of new equipment at
18 exchanges in South East London, Kent and East Anglia -- which are connected
to the network nodes in Cambridge and Woolwich. This equipment, known as multi
service access nodes (MSANs), will carry voice and data services onto the core
IP based network, initially for 1,000 customers by January 2005.
Paul Reynolds added: "We want to be absolutely clear that using IP
technology in our network for our premium quality voice services is a gulf
apart from the new budget voice over the internet services being launched
almost daily by a wide range of providers.
"We believe we can provide these services over IP at the same or better
than the high standards of quality and reliability people expect from the PSTN
today. These calls are not going over the internet. They will be carried on
our dedicated high capacity IP networks which also carry data and broadband
"Adopting IP as the common transport method is both cost efficient and
facilitates technology, systems, product and service convergence. BT's vision
is that voice will be one of many applications run over an IP network in our
21st century network world."
BT today also announced 21CN programme fibre to the premises trials at
Martlesham Heath, Suffolk; at Kents Hill, the Bolbeck Park and Walnut Tree
developments in Milton Keynes; and at the Waterfront Studios business centre,
at Silvertown in London's Docklands.
The trials will provide telephone and broadband services over fibre for up
to 1,500 homes and businesses. The first trialists will have their fibre
lines installed and working in October 2004 and the trial will run until
Paul Reynolds said: "As part of our 21CN programme, BT is looking at the
potential that fibre in the access network can deliver for our customers and
the investment and operational requirements that go with it. If the
commercial case is proved, we could begin to consider the role that fibre may
have further out in the network in the future.
"We expect the real benefits of this trial to be in informing our thinking
on the relative costs and benefits of deploying fibre, rather than copper, to
homes and businesses in green-field sites or new-build developments."
BT's 21CN programme aims to migrate the company's existing multiple,
service specific networks to a single converged multi-service IP based
network. It includes work towards increasing the bandwidth of services
provided over the copper access network as well as the trials of fibre
Paul Reynolds added: "At this stage we don't envisage a widespread
deployment of fibre to the premises or the cabinet in the near or medium term.
While we believe the use of fibre can help deliver better operating costs in
terms of maintenance, we need to balance this against the cost of installation
and systems developments. These trials will help to shape our thinking and
help us make strategic investment decisions."
Note to editors:
Photographs of Paul Reynolds, BT Wholesale chief executive, and 21st
Century Networks related images are available via BT's picture library hosted
by Vismedia at http://www.vismedia.co.uk
PSTN to IP transformation trial
The initial customers to use IP based networks for end-to-end services
previously carried on the PSTN will largely be BT employees in the exchange
areas below. The deployment to these trialists will provide valuable
information about the technicalities and practicalities of the future
large-scale migration of services. The pilot will be extended to 3,000
customers in June 2005 prior to large-scale migration in 2006.
Exchange County RDA
ADDISCOMBE Greater London London
BELSTEAD Suffolk East of England
BEXLEYHEATH Greater London London
BROMLEY Greater London London
CATFORD Greater London London
CHERRY HINTON Cambridgeshire East of England
CRAYFORD Greater London London
DARTFORD Kent South East
ELTHAM Greater London London
FELIXSTOWE Suffolk East of England
GROVE PARK Greater London London
IPSWICH TOWN Suffolk East of England
KESGRAVE Suffolk East of England
ORPINGTON Greater London London
SIDCUP Greater London London
WHITTON Suffolk East of England
WOODBRIDGE Suffolk East of England
WOOLWICH Greater London London
BT has selected the following companies to support the PSTN to IP pilot:
* Marconi is supplying core network Softswitches and multi-service access
nodes (MSANs) for voice services.
* Alcatel is providing IP ethernet switching equipment.
* Siemens is supplying metro media gateways and Juniper core and edge
Fibre to the premises trial
The fibre to the premise trial will involve the installation of new fibre
optic cables between a BT exchange and the property of those taking part.
Telephone and broadband services provided will be on a second line in parallel
to services currently provided over the BT network. Optical network units at
the exchanges and customer premises to manage the interface between the fibre
and BT and customer equipment.
ECI is supporting the fibre to the premises trials by supplying optical
network units for use at customer premises and optical line termination
equipment at the exchange.
BT is today formally launching the procurement process to select long term
suppliers for 21CN, which may not necessarily be those involved in the trials
and early implementation stages. Contracts for the main rollout phases will be
awarded following a formal competitive tendering process that will be
concluded by the end of 2004.
Forward-looking statements - caution advised
Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking and are made
in reliance on the safe harbour provisions of the US Private Securities
Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements include, without limitation,
those concerning: transformation of BT's networks and cost base; benefits to
customers of the 21CN programme; anticipated capital spend on 21CN
transformation and expected cash savings; timescales for delivery of 21CN; and
delivery of instantly available broadband.
Although BT believes that the expectations reflected in these forward-
looking statements are reasonable, it can give no assurance that these
expectations will prove to have been correct. Because these statements
involve risks and uncertainties, actual results may differ materially from
those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements.
Factors that could cause differences between actual results and those
implied by the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to:
material adverse changes in economic and financial markets conditions in the
markets served by BT; future regulatory actions and conditions in BT's
operating areas; technological innovations; developments in the convergence of
technologies; and the anticipated benefits and advantages of new technologies,
products and services, including broadband, not being realised. BT undertakes
no obligation to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of
new information, future events or otherwise.
Inquiries about this news release should be made to the BT Group Newsroom on
its 24-hour number: 020 7356 5369. From outside the UK dial + 44 20 7356 5369.
All news releases can be accessed at our web site:
U.S. Contact: Eileen Connolly, 908-410-1419
BT Group plc is the listed holding company for an integrated group of
businesses providing voice and data services in the UK and overseas,
particularly in Europe, but also in the Americas and the Asia Pacific region.
British Telecommunications plc, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc,
holds virtually all businesses and assets of the BT group.
BT is one of Europe's leading providers of telecommunications services.
Its principal activities include local, national and international
telecommunications services, higher-value broadband and internet products and
services, and IT solutions. In the UK, BT serves over 20 million business and
residential customers with more than 29 million exchange lines, as well as
providing network services to other licensed operators.
BT consists principally of three lines of business:
* BT Retail, serving businesses and residential customers and including
BT Openworld, one of the UK's leading ISPs.
* BT Wholesale, providing network services and solutions within the UK,
including ADSL, conveyance, transit, bulk delivery of private circuits,
frame relay and ISDN connections.
* BT Global Services, BT's managed services and solutions provider,
serving multi-site organisations worldwide. Its core target market is
the top 10,000 global multi-site organisations with European
There are a number of other businesses within the BT group, including BT
Exact, an internationally renowned centre of excellence in IT and networking
technologies. It is also BT's technology and research and development
In the year ended 31 March 2004, BT's turnover was 18,519 million pounds
Sterling with profit before goodwill amortisation, exceptional items and
taxation of 2,016 million pounds.
For more information, visit http://www.bt.com.
SOURCE BT Group plc