SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) might be the current industry acronym on everyone's lips, but at BT it's old news.
"We've been developing an SOA at BT for quite some time, although we didn't realise that's what it was at the time and didn't call it an SOA," said George Glass, chief architect at BT Exact.
In fact, the former state telecoms company turned to what everyone now calls SOA to stop the very real threat of being broken up by Ofcom.
David Graystone, who is in charge of billing, strategy and the future of business-to-business development on the retail side at BT, explained that the problem was the relationship between the wholesale and retail sides of the business.
"What we've got is wholesale Openreach, which offers a range of products and services to any communications provider. But other communication providers use different systems for pricing, forecasting and control mechanisms than BT," he said.
"So what Ofcom is really saying is that it feels the competitive market in the UK is hindered by this continued relationship between BT Retail and BT Openreach.
"Ofcom wanted to open it up and it has done in a number of ways, but the key one here is that BT would operate with the Openreach wholesale market in exactly the same way as any other communications provider can."
Graystone added that the system BT is adopting will have open interfaces onto common gateways, with common forecasts and pricing.
"That way there would be a logical and physical separation," he said. "The alternative, from Ofcom's point of view, and one of the things that was on the cards, was to split BT in two."
To stop this happening, BT submitted itself to Ofcom's Telecommunications Strategic Review, with dates for the new systems to be in place.
"From a consumer point of view our target is 2009, and that is almost underwritten in blood because we have said we will do it as part of the Review, " said Graystone.
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