BT: It's IP or bust

BT: It's IP or bust

Summary: The success of the ambitious 21st Century Network depends on BT moving fast, admits one top executive

TOPICS: Networking

BT has vowed to rip out much of its existing telecoms infrastructure by the end of the decade, as it pushes on with its 21st Century Network (21CN).

Speaking at the FT World Telecommunications Conference in London on Tuesday, Dr Paul Reynolds, chief executive of BT Wholesale, admitted that BT can't afford to run today's legacy equipment in parallel with new Internet Protocol-based infrastructure.

"People say to us, can't your PSTN equipment run for another fifteen years? Well, in pure engineering terms it can... but the cost and complexity of running legacy equipment alongside a new IP network will bust the business case for 21CN," said Reynolds.

Last year, BT announced that it plans to spend £10bn over the next few years to replace its existing Web of legacy networks with 21CN. While Reynolds painted an upbeat picture about 21CN and the new generation of IP-based services it will enable, the plan has alarmed some in the industry.

No telco of BT's size has attempted this kind of project before. When the plans were announced, some in the industry claimed that BT could be underestimating the challenge of being the first to combine equipment from different vendors in such a big commercial network.

21CN has also sparked concern that it could create a new digital divide, if the new services offered over 21CN are only available in urban areas.

Reynolds, though, insisted that the success of BT's ambitious project depends on universal coverage.

"The business model for 21CN is quite clear... you have to have IP everywhere," he said.

Topic: Networking

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  • I'll believe it when I see it. BT has an unfortunate habit of saying one thing and doing something completely different.
  • Oh christ, I am never not reading about something gargantuous not yet having arrived. Please ZDnet, put this thing on ice until it comes will you.
  • BT moving fast? Don't make me laugh! BT have been the sole blockage in our trying to get a number of remote sites connected to our network.

    BT is a dinosaur, archaic and bureaucratic. It needs to change and soon.
  • Until now there is no research done on the overall world wide requirement for bandwidth if all three services are introduced via IP, which is Voice, data and Video. There will be a lot of quality of service related issues if this is not properly checked and deployed.

    VOIP was introduced to help companies make use of he unused bandwidth for voice traffic and as a money save,r now with the falling prices of TDM it is not even worth moving to IP considering the quality and services related issues.