The trial is part of BT's plan to migrate to a single, IP-based infrastructure called the 21st Century Network (21CN), and, according to some of the vendors, the systems involved are already being deployed in the carrier's central offices while still being put through their paces in the test labs (see BT Moves Ahead With Mega Project).
Only four hardware vendors have been identified so far. They are:
Alcatel is, not surprisingly, "pleased and proud that BT has put its faith in our edge aggregation strategy. We're shipping and deploying the product in BT's network in advance of the live trial, and the lab assessment is ongoing at the same time," says Phil Tilley, VP of marketing for Alcatel's fixed network division. He adds that the 7750 is currently deployed in 26 networks, with TeliaSonera AB (Nasdaq: TLSN) among the recent takers (see China Telecom Selects Alcatel 7750 and TeliaSonera Picks Alcatel Service Routers).
Tilley couldn't comment further on the importance that TiMetra's technology is playing in Alcatel's strategy, or whether such uptake is heralding a shift in the router market, as the company is currently in its quiet period ahead of its second-quarter results due to be released on July 29.
But the TiMetra box is clearly a major weapon in Alcatel's arsenal. CEO Serge Tchuruk singled it out during the vendor's most recent results conference call as having rapidly growing appeal, and the French vendor is even pushing the 7750 as its core router offering (see Alcatel Turns a Corner and Alcatel Sticks to Core Plans). BT, though, has opted to use it only as the edge platform for this trial, and is sourcing its core router technology from...
In addition to the VOIP project, BT is also undertaking a fiber-to-the-home trial later this year, with ECI Telecom Ltd. (Nasdaq/NM: ECIL) as the primary supplier (see BT Selects ECI for FTTP Trial). While the operator couldn't provide an update on the progress of the VOIP lab tests and field deployments, a spokeswoman says the fiber is currently being laid for the FTTH project, with ECI expected to deliver its Hi-FOCuS 4 access gateway in mid-August.
BT has stressed that involvement in its trials does not guarantee any contract awards for the construction of the live network, and has made it clear that none of the vendors, including its incumbent suppliers, can presume they'll be included.
It is also highlighting the importance of delivering standards-based systems and is involved in the development of new technical specifications that will underpin the technology of future, converged, IP-based networks (see ITU Puts Convergence Center Stage).
The operator is undergoing a separate process for the procurement and testing of the OSS systems that will support the 21CN architecture (see BT Pins Down OSS Deals).
— Ray Le Maistre, International Editor, Boardwatch
For more on this topic, check out:
- The coming Light Reading Live! events:
Light Reading's Next Generation Services (NGS) Roadshow
Light Reading's Triple Play 2004 Conference
- The coming Light Reading Webinar:
Enterprise Convergence: The Cost of Change
- The Light Reading Insider reports:
VOIP: The Enterprise Options
The Core IP Report
- The Heavy Reading reports:
Resilience, Reliability, and OAM in Converged Networks: A Heavy Reading Competitive Analysis
Next-Generation DSL Equipment: The Path to Profitability
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