December 22, 2005 London -- BT today announced that it has concluded negotiations and signed contracts with four of the preferred suppliers for its £ 10 billion next-generation 21st Century Network (21CN). Contracts have been signed with Ciena, Huawei, Lucent, and Siemens, and BT expects to conclude negotiations with the remaining four preferred suppliers early in the New Year.
"This has been one of the largest single procurement programs ever undertaken in the communications industry worldwide," contends Meryl Bushell, chief procurement officer for the BT Group. "In order to achieve world-class delivery of the program, it's critical that we have the right commercial agreements in place. Negotiations have been long and complex, but we are delighted to have reached agreement with these companies," Bushell adds.
BT plans to deploy Ciena's CN 4200 FlexSelect Advanced Services Platform, CoreDirector Multiservice Switch, and CoreStream Agility Optical Transmission System as it moves its entire customer base from the existing UK public-switched telephone network (PSTN) to the Internet Protocol (IP)-based 21CN.
Like Ciena, Huawei was also selected as a 21CN supplier following a rigorous two-year procurement and authentication process. "This is a strategic win for Huawei," contends Edward Chen, UK MD for Huawei Technologies. "We are very proud to be delivering world-class transmission products to help form the optical backbone for the UK network and link BT's access and metro domains together. We look forward to creating a 21st Century network that will bring benefits to the whole of the UK."
For its part, Lucent will help BT deploy a more efficient core network that will enable the carrier to offer feature-rich services, including voice, broadband, Ethernet, virtual private networking (VPN) services and IP VPN, as well as support established packet data capabilities such as ATM transport services--all over the MPLS core.
"21CN represents one of the biggest ever investments in the economic infrastructure of the UK by a private company," notes Paul Reynolds, BT Wholesale chief executive. "These are exciting times and we are making good progress. Six million customer calls have been successfully carried in the latest phase of our 21CN trials, and we have more than 2000 people working on the program. We have been working closely with the entire telecommunications industry to agree the schedule for rollout across the UK."
BT expects the 21CN to reduce its cost base by about one billion pounds per year by 2008-2009. The migration of customer lines to the new infrastructure is expected to begin in Cardiff during the second half of 2006.