KPN-Qwest is planning to provide voice over IP and voice over ATM for European businesses, providing equipment vendors can deliver carrier class routers on schedule.
Cisco, Sun, Lucent and others have promised IP grade routers with carrier class quality for voice by the end of the year. KPN-Qwest wants to use these products so it does not have to deploy circuit switched equipment on its network in order to offer voice services.
"The choice is to put in a circuit switched layer to go after voice traffic, or to bet that in the next couple of quarters there is going to be carrier quality routing," Jack McMaster, executive vice president at Qwest, said at the IDC European Telecoms Forum last week.
KPN-Qwest, the Dutch-American network alliance formed last November, hopes to offer packetised voice over ATM for the enterprise and voice over IP for smaller carriers in Europe.
"I'm hoping the Ciscos of the world are going to be able to take IP oriented routers out of the lab fast enough for me not to have to deploy circuit switched," said McMaster. Whether the equipment will be ready by the end of the year will become clear in the second quarter, he added.
"If it turns out that it's not going to be ready, I would make a moderate investment in circuit switched architecture," he said. "If there are going to be voice driven applications that cannot take one iota off your vision, then do it."
In the US, Qwest has a circuit switched network obtained through its acquisition of large circuit switched facilities based provider, LCI.
But while McMaster said this gives the company the best of both worlds, it is not a situation he wants to repeat in Europe.
"I'm betting and hoping that we're not going to have to do the same strategy in Europe," he said.
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