Cable & Wireless has switched on the London ring of its IP-based Next Generation Network (NGN).
It will give C&W's customers in London access to a network that can run higher speed broadband, as well as IP telephony, video and multimedia applications.
The London NGN is part of a larger project in which C&W is investing £190m over the next three years to drive broadband and IP services. C&W said it is basically consolidating five networks - including ATM, IP and voice - into one IP platform.
In addition, C&W is halving the number of backbone nodes underpinning the NGN, and reducing the number of metro-edge and metro-access nodes. It is also installing 10 new soft switches to replace 70 legacy voice switches.
C&W IP virtual private network customers that stand to gain from the London ring of the NGN include Volkswagen, Marks & Spencer, Hilton Hotels and Aviva (Norwich Union).
In addition to these, Energis' customers, such as Tesco and Lloyds TSB, will gain access to the faster network after C&W completes its proposed acquisition of the company.
Customers of C&W-owned Bulldog's broadband service will also be among the first to benefit from the faster speeds in London. Bulldog Broadband currently runs at up to 8mbps.
The C&W London NGN comprises seven metro nodes at Acton, Hammersmith, Battersea, Westminster, Deptford, Poplar and Camden. It will cover an area currently served by 100 BT exchanges.