BT's $17 Billion Dollar Network Renewal

Lucent, Siemens, Huawei and Ciena ink contracts for Britain dedicated IP telecom network; PSTN to be ditched.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Dec 27, 2005
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Just in time for the Holidays, Britain's BT (formerly known as British Telecom) has inked deals with four of its partners for a US $17 billion dollar network overhaul.

Ciena, Huawei, Lucent and Siemens are the first four of an expected eight preferred vendors to sign deals with BT. The telco's 21st Century Network (21CN) will see BT's entire network transformed into an end-to-end IP network for voice and data over the next five years.

21CN will utilize Multi Protocol Label Switching (MPLS)  for quality of service for voice traffic as well as data.

The telco claims that in trial for 21CN, some six million calls have already been carried. The effort currently includes 2000 personnel actively working on the initiative.

The 21CN effort will ultimately migrate BT's 30 million customer lines and will also when completed mark the demise of the PSTN  for BT. Customer lines are expected to begin migration in earnest during the second half of 2006.

By the 2008/2009 time frame, the move to an all-IP, converged network is expected to save BT of US $1.7 billion per year in reduced costs.

"This has been one of the largest single procurement programs ever undertaken in the communications industry worldwide," Meryl Bushell, Chief Procurement Officer for BT Group, said in a statement. "In order to achieve world class delivery of the program, 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."

Though not officially named as one of the four partners for 21CN, Juniper Networks may well make out to be a big winner in the BT rollout. Both Siemens and Lucent named Juniper as their partner to help meet the 21CN routing requirements.

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