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BT Finally Switches From PSTN To IP

Posted: 09th Jun, 2004 By: MarkJ
In a move that could one day see calls get even cheaper, BT has finally announced long rumoured plans to switch from PSTN to an IP based network. The Mass migration would begin in 2006 and end during 2008; a trial with 1,000 customers has already begun:

BT announces network transformation timetable

* Mass migration of customers from PSTN to IP based network to begin in 2006

* Majority of customers' PSTN services on IP network by 2008

* Trials of voice services on IP network and fibre to the premises announced

* Increase in customer choice, control and service flexibility

BT today set out the timetable for the transformation of its UK networks. It announced a five year programme to underpin the next generation of converged, multimedia communications services. Mass migration of customers onto the new network will begin in 2006 with the majority due to be completed in 2008.

BT's 21st century network (21CN) programme will create the enabling infrastructure for the growth of BT and the UK telecommunications industry. It is set to completely transform BT's networks, delivering increased customer choice and control.

BT Wholesale chief executive Paul Reynolds said: "The 21CN programme will deliver our vision of a converged, multimedia world where our customers can access any communications service from any device, anywhere - and at broadband speed.

Over the next five years 21CN will transform BT's business and its cost base, removing duplication across the current multiple service specific networks and creating a single multi-service network. Total capital spend on the 21CN transformation will be within the previously announced BT capital expenditure envelope of £3 billion per annum. From this year about two thirds of the annual spend is directed to 21CN and other new and intermediate technologies and this proportion is expected to increase. That investment in future infrastructure will enable BT to deliver growing cash savings which are expected to amount to £1 billion per annum by 2008/9.

An early deliverable of this transformation is the first phase of the migration of services from the existing UK public switched telephone network (PSTN) to a multi-service internet protocol (IP) based network which will carry both voice and data services.* As a precursor to large scale migration of voice and other PSTN based services from 2006, the first stage 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 London.

An initial 1,000 customers served by local exchanges connected to Cambridge and Woolwich will trial end to end voice and data services over the core IP network link.

In addition to making broadband available from exchanges serving 99.6 per cent of people by summer 2005, BT is aiming to have broadband dialtone available to most of its customers in the UK in five years time. Customers will be in control of their own services and will immediately be able to switch the line to broadband use themselves without requiring physical work at the exchange, whatever device they use to access the broadband network.

BT also today announced trials to test the technical and commercial issues associated with the possible deployment of fibre optic cable in the UK local access network. These limited trials are looking particularly at the economics associated with providing services to new build and greenfield site developments.*
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