Barclays is outsourcing its international data network to BT to enable it to build a £250m Internet-based network to increase internal efficiency and offer new services to customers.
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As part of the deal, BT's business-to-business division Syncordia will take on 54 Barclays staff, including contractors. A Barclays spokeswoman said there would be no redundancies.
The building of the IP-based network will see the bank move over to a converged network with IP driving the main traffic functions between branches and the rest of the bank's 3,000 offices.
Increasing IP functionality will also allow Barclays to trial voice-over-IP, enabling its staff to make cheaper Internet voice calls.
Barclays will also be able to widen its e-commerce ventures which will include customers being able to access the bank's services through the wireless application protocol (Wap), using mobile phones.
Barclays' move is part of a trend which has seen HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, and Bank of Scotland all recently announcing they intend to adopt the IP protocol for internal and external traffic.
While the ultimate aim for banks and other companies is to rely solely on the Internet to do business, this won't happen for a while because of its instability, so Barclays will run a traditional wide area network in parallel to the IP-based one.
David Weymouth, Barclays chief information officer, said, "By the end of 2001, BT will be working to enable our customers to access all products and services through electronic channels."
Barclays' IP network