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BT names preferred suppliers for £10bn IP network

Antony Savvas

BT has chosen eight preferred suppliers for its £10bn 21st Century Network (21CN) project, which will see the UK’s leading telecoms provider adopt a fully IP-based network.

The five-year project will enable businesses and consumers to more easily adopt new technologies like voice over IP and wireless fixed broadband.  

After two years of discussions with more than 300 potential suppliers, BT has chosen eight suppliers for five areas of work.

Fujitsu and Huawei will work on the access area, which will link BT’s existing access network with the new 21CN.

Alcatel, Cisco and Siemens have been selected as preferred suppliers for the metro nodes that provide routing and signalling for the 21CN’s voice, data and video services.

Cisco and Lucent will be the 21CN’s preferred suppliers for core nodes, providing high-capacity and cost-efficient connections between metro nodes.

Ericsson will concentrate on the “i-node” area - the intelligence that controls the services. 

And Ciena and Huawei have been chosen for the transmission area to supply the optical electronics that will convert the signals carried at high capacity over the cables connecting the metro and core nodes.

BT said the selection of the eight suppliers would allow dozens of smaller and innovative subcontractors to get involved in the delivery of the 21CN, with the project attracting new investment and employment to the UK.

Matt Bross, BT Group chief technology officer, said, “The capability that BT is putting in place through this investment in the 21CN is unequalled anywhere in the world. It will enable us to introduce new services at a speed that is simply impossible today.” 

BT believes that, when completed, the  21CN will bring it cost savings of £1bn a year.


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