Users gather to highlight broadband needs

The CMA's "Broadband for business in the 21st century" event aims to focus attention on the needs of organisations and the...

The Communications Management Association is holding a major industry event tomorrow looking at business adoption of broadband technology.

The CMA, which represents networks and telecoms managers, is hoping the event will focus telecoms providers and regulators on the broadband needs of UK business.

"The telecoms industry's roll-out of UK broadband technology up to now could have been a smoother process. But by bringing together users, suppliers and other stakeholders, we can help to make sure future deployments are easier and more effective for businesses' requirements," a CMA spokesman said.

Chris Lewis, lead enterprise practice analyst at Ovum, will use the event to look at whether broadband suppliers' services are flexible enough for corporate users. He will also question whether offering higher bandwidth at cheaper prices is sufficient to boost productivity.

Retailers are increasingly using broadband links in place of expensive leased lines and inefficient ISDN to connect branches and small offices to headquarters.

Ian Perry, telecoms manager at Dixons Group, will present a case study of how the company has put in place a broadband branch network covering 1,000 stores. He will talk about the drivers and objectives for installing the network and explain how Dixons intends to "push the boundaries" in its use of the infrastructure, including quality of service, data prioritisation, multicasting, and security.

The opportunities for using advanced technologies over the Dixons network, such as video, voice over IP, virtual private networks, and the use of Citrix thin client systems, will also be addressed by Perry.

The CMA has welcomed BT's plan to build its "21st century network" to improve services and deliver new technologies, and Lewis Lyell, BT Retail international director of voice and mobility, will discuss the impact of BT's plans on users.

In another presentation, Michael Dixon, CMA numbering special interest group leader, will talk about the need for geographic numbering in voice over IP and some of the emerging issues in electronic numbering, both of which have been pushed up the agenda by the widespread adoption of broadband.

Other topics to be covered by the conference will be the role of broadband in the travel industry, how security issues can be tackled, and the role of wireless broadband, including a case study on a major implementation.

The CMA conference "Broadband for business in the 21st century - highlighting the impact of broadband on the enterprise" takes place in London on 20 October.

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