UK chooses BT and Nortel for Defence VoIP Network

Using Nortel equipment BT has been contracted to deploy a secure managed voice and data network for the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the British Armed Forces. The new network will provide voice services to over 200,000 users across a network of over 2,000 locations. The network is expected to be built out over the next two years.

The deal is part of a five year extension that BT has with the UK MOD to build and manage mission critical telecom infrastructure that may be worth up GBP1.5 billion Nortel’s piece of the pie is valued at US $42 million for VoIP and multiservice switching solutions.

The BT, UK MOD deal is among the most “significant” government and/or military deployments of Nortel VoIP technologies to date. Nortel itself is no stranger to defense deployments of its VoIP solutions, however; the US Department of Defense (DOD) is also among its customers.

Some have “argued” that VoIP is at the same risk as regular Internet traffic and as such cannot be considered to be secure. The network being built out for the UK MOD though is promised to be completely secure.

“Details of the network are considered confidential by MOD, so we cannot provide details of network testing, but BT has performed extensive testing with the MOD to ensure complete network security,” Nortel spokesperson Bo Gowan told ” Also, realize that BT is building a completely separate, private network for MOD’s traffic, so you should not consider MOD VoIP traffic the same as VoIP traffic like that of consumer services which travel of the public Internet.”

BT and Nortel have also jointly developed a dedicated testing facility for the UK MOD network that is a captive replica of the MOD’s entire telecom network. The new facility has the aim helping to ensure the smooth migration of services as well to help showcase Defence Fixed Telecommunications Service (DFTS) services to other government and defense agencies.

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