BT Announces Further 21st Century Network Progress

BT has concluded negotiations and signed contracts with the remaining four preferred suppliers for its next generation network transformation programme – the 21st Century Network (21CN). Contracts have been signed with Alcatel, Cisco, Ericsson and Fujitsu. This follows the announcement on 23rd December 2005 that contracts have been signed with Ciena, Huawei, Lucent and Siemens.

BT’s 21CN will provide the basis of the most powerful competitive and productive communications environment in the world and represents one of the biggest ever investments in the economic infrastructure of the UK by a private company. It will encourage innovation and provide the UK with a competitive edge. Lead times for the introduction of new products and services will reduce dramatically making it significantly quicker and cheaper for businesses to bring new and exciting services to market.

BT’s preferred suppliers all have operations in the UK. Each agreement signed will support employment in the UK among the suppliers selected as well as BT itself. Alcatel and Cisco have been selected to supply metro nodes providing routing and signalling for 21CN’s voice, data and video services. Cisco has also been selected to supply large scale routers providing high capacity, cost efficient connections between metro nodes. Ericsson has been selected in the i-node domain – in essence the intelligence that controls the services. Fujitsu will be providing access technology which will link BT’s existing network with the new 21CN.

Paul Reynolds, BT Wholesale chief executive, said: “These are exciting times. The UK is the first country in the world to move its core telecommunications infrastructure to a next generation all-IP network. The industry worldwide is watching what we are doing very closely. BT’s customers will be the first to enjoy the next generation of converged network services that 21CN enables.”