March 6, 2006 London, UK -- BT announced that it has concluded negotiations and signed contracts with the remaining four preferred suppliers for its 21st Century Network (21CN) network transformation program. Contracts have been signed with Alcatel, Cisco, Ericsson and Fujitsu. Today's announcement follows the December 23, 2005 announcement that contracts had been signed with Ciena, Huawei, Lucent and Siemens.
"These are exciting times," comments Paul Reynolds, BT Wholesale's chief executive. "The UK is the first country in the world to move its core telecommunications infrastructure to a next generation all-IP network. The industry worldwide is watching what we are doing very closely. BT's customers will be the first to enjoy the next generation of converged network services that 21CN enables."
"This concludes what has been one of the largest single procurement programs ever undertaken in the communications industry worldwide," adds Meryl Bushell, chief procurement officer for BT Group. "We're confident that we now have the right commercial agreements in place which will enable us to achieve world class delivery of the program."
In a press release, BT says its 21CN program "will provide the basis of the most powerful competitive and productive communications environment in the world and represents one of the biggest ever investments in the economic infrastructure of the UK by a private company." The company says the program will encourage innovation and provide the UK with a "competitive edge. Lead times for the introduction of new products and services will reduce dramatically making it significantly quicker and cheaper for businesses to bring new and exciting services to market."
The company says its preferred suppliers all have operations in the UK. Each agreement signed will support employment in the UK among the suppliers selected as well as BT itself. Alcatel and Cisco have been selected to supply metro nodes providing routing and signalling for 21CN's voice, data and video services. Cisco has also been selected to supply large scale routers providing high capacity, cost efficient connections between metro nodes. Ericsson has been selected in the i-node domain i.e. the intelligence that controls the services. Fujitsu will be providing access technology which will link BT's existing network with the new 21CN.
BT says it expects the 21CN program to reduce its cost base with identified savings of around one billion pounds a year by 2008/09. The migration of customer lines to the new infrastructure is expected to begin in Cardiff, UK during the second half of 2006.