Jersey Telecom deploys Marconi SoftSwitch and Access Hub

8 July 2003 Jersey, UK Lightwave Europe--Voice and data services are being delivered across a single packet-based network for the first time in Europe claims Marconi, the provider of the switch and hub infrastructure.

- provide's Europe's "most advanced" public service network

8 July 2003 Jersey, UK--Voice and data services are being delivered across a single packet-based network for the first time in Europe claims Marconi, the provider of the switch and hub infrastructure.

For residents of the Channel Islands, the Broadband Britain that many of today's consumers can only hear about is now arriving. Jersey Telecom has initiated the move from basic high-speed Internet services to carrier-class voice over IP (VoIP) services and a number of superior high-speed data and multimedia applications are planned.

To deliver this next-generation network, Jersey Telecom needed the help of an experienced telecoms equipment provider which could deliver carrier-class access and switching tools to enable the seamless fulfilment of futuristic broadband services. The company turned to Marconi as part of its launch of island-wide broadband services in January 2003.

After a period of testing, Jersey Telecom deployed the Marconi SoftSwitch, a carrier-class, next-generation, VoIP solution enabling the convergence of voice and data services onto a single packet network. The adoption of the Marconi SoftSwitch enables Jersey Telecom to introduce broadband voice and multimedia services across all modern communications terminals, such as IP Telephones, TV set-top boxes, personal computers and personal data assistants (PDAs).

SoftSwitch has been live since February 2003 and is currently being used for carrier pre-select service for Jersey Telecom customers in Guernsey. The SoftSwitch is also being used by the Jersey Telecom retail shop on Guernsey to provide virtual private network (VPN) connected PCs onto local area networks (LANs) and for telephones and faxes.

Jerry Rabasté, director of strategic planning for Jersey Telecom oversaw the project. He said, "We selected Marconi SoftSwitch XCD5000 as we felt it was the only carrier-class solution of its kind that can provide profitable revenues from digital subscriber line (xDSL) services over a single, converged network."

As a result of the deployment, businesses and residents in both Jersey and the neighbouring island of Guernsey will be able to tap into an increasing range of telephony, data and IP services. It also provides a common platform for digital television and high-speed "always on" Internet access, and enterprises will be able to enjoy voice, application-sharing, broadband videoconferencing and personal mobility with a new degree of flexibility that Marconi is calling IP-Commerce.

Jersey Telecom followed the SoftSwitch deployment by purchasing Marconi's Access Hub, a multiservice access node that uses existing telephone lines to provide high bandwidth services, located in a local exchange or operator's central office.

The move links past, present and future by significantly boosting the existing copper infrastructure to carry everything from POTS (plain old telephony services) to high-speed, data-rich xDSL multimedia content and Jersey Telecom became the first carrier in the world to deploy both SoftSwitch and Access Hub.

Marconi's Access Hub is a next generation platform that delivers multiple data, communication and entertainment services to end-users, taking broadband far beyond simple Internet connectivity. It has been designed to give end-users access to high-speed data, Ethernet, video and broadcast TV services as well as traditional voice telephony. Because of this, the Access Hub is described within the telecommunications industry as a "Multi Service Access Node" (MSAN).

It combines the functionality of a traditional Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexer (DSLAM) with the ability to aggregate all traffic types with one of the industry's highest port densities and low running costs. While technical performance was a major factor in Jersey Telecom's choice of the Marconi Access Hub, capital and operating costs also played a significant part in the final decision.

Rabasté said that Access Hub met all of Jersey Telecom's technical requirements and allowed the company to invest in a network for the future, rather than investing in legacy technology.

"Access Hub reduces our capital expenditure as we only have to invest in one platform for both voice and data, and produces savings on power, space, maintenance and other operating costs," he said. "We now have the ability to offer advanced, broadband multimedia services and connect our customers in hours, opening up new revenue-generating opportunities and enhancing service speed and performance for our end users."

The initial phase of the deployment involves Access Hubs equipped with a new feature that combines POTS and xDSL on a single tributary card. This feature allows Jersey Telecom to easily switch narrowband users to broadband with the click of a mouse button on the screen of its network management system.

Legacy technology requires a technician to visit a local telephone exchange and manually switch over a customer's telephone line from narrowband to broadband equipment. Customers wishing to subscribe to Jersey Telecom's broadband service can be connected within a few hours of placing their order, while customers of service providers without the advantage of Marconi's Access Hub could have to wait weeks.

Jersey Telecom plans to roll out 5,000 of the new POTS/DSL lines initially, with a further 12,000 lines being deployed over the next 18 months.

The new equipment will not only take over the switching duties of the existing Marconi System X concentrators in the Jersey Telecom network, but also create a broadband route for xDSL services such as high-speed data transfer and internet access, video conferencing and digital television.

In addition, the Access Hub offers high-capacity Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM), IP and Frame Relay traffic aggregation capabilities - all with an integrated voice capability.

"Marconi has worked with Jersey Telecom to develop a Next Generation network solution utilising Marconi's world leading Access Hub and SoftSwitch technology," said Rod Smith, executive vice president, Northern Europe for Marconi. "This has created what we believe to be one of the few total end-to-end carrier-class truly IP-based multimedia networks in the world.

"Most significantly of all, however, is that this combination will enable Jersey Telecom to run both POTS and VoIP, protecting lucrative voice revenues, as well as enabling the operator to deliver new DSL services over the same network while replacing legacy technology. We believe that we are providing a compelling broadband proposition that other operators, in the UK and across Europe, will watch very closely and wish to emulate," Smith concluded.

- Jersey Telecom is said by Marconi to be the "world's first service provider to combine Marconi's Access Hub and SoftSwitch".
- There is an integrated broadband network for both voice and high-speed data traffic.
- Capital expenditure has been reduced and there are savings in power, space and maintenance costs.
- There has been the creation of new revenue-generating opportunities, enhancement of services for existing customers.

More in FTTN/C