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BT shortlists suppliers for £10bn move to full IP network

Antony Savvas

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

The five-year project will make it easier for businesses and consumers to adopt new technologies such as voice over IP and fixed wireless broadband. When completed, it will save BT £1bn a year, the company said.

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

  • Fujitsu and Huawei have been chosen for the access area, which will link BT's existing access network with the 21CN.
  • Alcatel, Cisco and Siemens have been selected as preferred suppliers for metro nodes, which 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 has been selected for the "i-node" area - the intelligence that controls the services.
  • Ciena and Huawei have been chosen for the transmission area to supply 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 will allow dozens of smaller, innovative subcontractors to become involved in the delivery of the 21CN.

BT Group chief technology officer Matt Bross said, "The capability that BT is putting in place through this investment in the 21CN is unequalled anywhere in the world."

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