BT Signs Contracts with 21CN Suppliers

BT has concluded negotiations and signed contracts with four of the preferred suppliers for its radical next generation network transformation programme – the 21st Century Network. Contracts have been signed with Ciena, Huawei, Lucent and Siemens. BT expects to conclude negotiations with the remaining four preferred suppliers early in the New Year.
21CN will provide the enabling infrastructure for growth for BT and the whole UK telecommunications industry. It will require an investment by BT of up to £10 billion over the next five years and put the UK at the cutting edge of innovation. Lead times for the introduction of new products 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.

Paul Reynolds, BT Wholesale chief executive, said: “21CN represents one of the biggest ever investments in the economic infrastructure of the UK by a private company. It will provide the basis of the most powerful competitive and productive communications environment in the world. These are exciting times and we are making good progress. Six million customer calls have been successfully carried in the latest phase of our 21CN trials, and we have more than 2000 people working on the programme. We have been working closely with the entire telecommunications industry to agree the schedule for roll-out across the UK.”

Meryl Bushell, Chief Procurement Officer for BT Group, said: “This has been one of the largest single procurement programmes ever undertaken in the communications industry worldwide. In order to achieve world class delivery of the programme, it’s critical that we have the right commercial agreements in place. Negotiations have been long and complex but we are delighted to have reached agreement with these companies.”

21CN will completely transform BT’s networks reducing complexity and radically reducing BT’s cost base with identified savings of around one billion pounds a year by 2008/09. The migration of customer lines to the new infrastructure is expected to begin in Cardiff during the second half of 2006.