BT is to spend #800 million souping up its core transmission network to bring its business and residential subscribers into the multimedia age.
The UK telco will use the money to buy synchronous digital hierachy (SDH) equipment for its existing SDH fibre infrastructure. This will enable the network to transmit data at up to 124Gbps.
The investment is in addition to its #300 million project to put ATM switches on the network.
BT will also use wave division multiplexing (WDM) optical fibre technology, which enables multiple services to be transmitted on one fibre.
A spokesperson said 90 per cent of businesses in the UK will gain direct access to the fibre network by September 1999, and the rest will be online a year later.
Residential users will link to the network using asynchronous digital subscriber line (ADSL) technology, a high speed technology for copper wires leading to homes.
Subscribers will be able to access the Internet using televisions and telephones as well as PCs, watch online entertainment and shop on the Internet, on the same network used today to carry telephone calls.
BT chief executive Peter Bonfield said: ?Together with earlier investments in optical and digital communications equipment, BT?s core network will be able to carry a massive number of voice, data and Internet calls.?
BT expects to increase its network of 400 SDH nodes to 1,500 by September 1999, and to 2,500 a year later.
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