BT has named the eight companies it will be using to build its planned 21st Century Network (21CN). The new network will take five years to complete at a cost £10bn.
21CN will be entirely IP-based and will be necessary if BT is to achieve its target of turning off the copper PSTN and running voice and data traffic over optical fibre.
"The capability that BT is putting in place through this investment in 21CN is unequalled anywhere in the world," said Matt Bross, BT Group chief technology officer.
"It will enable us to introduce new services at a speed that is simply impossible today."
The eight suppliers cover all elements of the 21CN project. Fujitsu and Huawei will link BT's existing services to the new network, and Alcatel, Cisco and Siemens will handle routing for metro nodes. Lucent will link those metro nodes.
Ciena and Huawei will be handling the optical communications cabling, and Ericsson will provide the software to control the whole system.
"This leading effort will form a key element in ensuring the health and well being of the UK's future economy," said Chris Halbard, vice president of sales and business development at Lucent Technologies Europe.
"It builds on an already successful and long-standing relationship between Lucent and BT spanning several years."
BT is not the only telecoms provider to move towards IP-only networks. Cable & Wireless, the UK's number two network operator, has similar plans, and KPN in The Netherlands is planning to switch off its PSTN network and go IP only.
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