BT is gearing up to shift some of its existing customers on to its brand spanking new all-IP network, known as the 21CN.
The first customers to make the change, all located in the Cardiff area, will be swapped to the 21CN over the course of the next 12 months.
The first phase of the project will see 10 percent of lines upgraded before March next year, with another 10 percent getting an update before May 2007. The initial phase will take in areas around the Cynnon, Rhonda and Rhymney valleys as well as some of the Vale of Glamorgan. The second will cover parts of Cardiff and Penarth.
By the end of the summer the telco is promising to have all 350,000 lines in the region on the next-generation network.
According to a BT spokesman, customers should experience a "fairly seamless" changeover from the old network to the 21CN. "There will be short outages for each person but the likelihood is that will take place at night when people are asleep," he said.
After the dust has settled on the Cardiff migration, BT and other communications companies will conduct a review before the nationwide changeover takes place, scheduled to commence from early 2008.
BT expects to have the rest of the UK's 30 million lines on the 21CN by the end of the decade.
In October, BT will start giving more details on this rollout. Large corporate customers will be contacted by their communications provider who will talk through the changeover with them and check all equipment is compatible with the next-generation network.
BT's spokesman said: "For consumers and single site SMEs, it's just not possible to contact 20 million people." Instead, BT and fellow telcos are working on a communications plan to let them know about the changeover and when they can expect to be upgraded — including the creation of a new Web site and a single point of contact for all queries, regardless of provider.