BT Enters Hosted IP Telephony Market

BT has announced the launch of what they describe a ‘highly secure and resilient hosted IP telephony service’ which has been granted Communications Electronics Security Group (CESG) approval. The service is based on the Nortel Communication Server 2000 IP telephony switch.

Targeted at both government and non-government customers, this service is certified by the CESG to carry voice traffic classified as ‘restricted’. CESG is the information assurance arm of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and is responsible for helping organisations achieve the secure and trusted sharing of knowledge.

Lewis Lyell, managing director convergence business sales, BT Global Services UK, said: “BT has worked with numerous public sector organisations and global businesses, enabling them to benefit from moving to a secure converged network infrastructure. BT Hosted Voice is the first of its kind to meet CESG approval and in doing so opens up the benefits of IP-based telephony to organisations with specific security requirements.”

In addition to its security credentials, Nortel’s strategic development relationship programme with Microsoft, through its Innovative Communications Alliance, means unified communications – such as instant messaging, web conferencing and presence – will be available on a hosted basis, removing the requirement for customers to fund up-front investments in new technology. BT believes that this concept of offering ‘software as a service’ will become increasingly popular to government organisations and businesses of all sizes.

Lyell, added: “BT is committed to working with best of breed partners in order to support its customers’ needs and create new and improved offerings. Our new Hosted Voice capability, based on Nortel’s established IP telephony platform, is a perfect example of that work as we continue to extend the benefits of convergence to every possible organisation.”

Steve Cunningham, General Manager, BT Account Group, Nortel, said: “Nortel and BT have an established heritage in delivering innovative IP-based communications and, from a security, business continuity and unified communications perspective, the addition of this secure, resilient and flexible hosted voice service is an exciting development.”