BT unveils regional network investment

BT yesterday outlined plans to invest £1.32 billion over the next five years to provide the East of England with a world-leading communications network designed to meet regional demand for voice, data, video on-demand television and broadband services.

BT yesterday outlined plans to invest £1.32 billion over the next five years to provide the East of England with a world-leading communications network designed to meet regional demand for voice, data, video on-demand television and broadband services.

The first customers in the region to be switched over to this next generation network will be in parts of Norwich, Ipswich, Southend, Peterborough, Chelmsford, Cambridge and Colchester.

The switch over is planned to start in January 2008, with all people in the region being switched over by the end of 2011.

BT is developing what claims will be the world's most advanced communications infrastructure to give increased customer choice and flexibility, and to enable the introduction of new services for all the UK's communications providers more quickly in the future.


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The East of England programme is part of BT's multi-billion pound 21st Century Network (21CN) investment in a “next generation” network, with one of the benefits being access to wholesale broadband services with speeds of up to 24Mbit/s - triple the fastest speeds currently available for most UK customers.

Peter McCarthy-Ward, BT's regional director for the East of England, said: “BT's investment in the world's most modern communications infrastructure will benefit everyone in the region and will create an environment capable of transforming the way we live, work, learn and play.

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“It opens the door to a range of new products and entertainment options being developed by service providers, building on innovations like television on your mobile phone and video over broadband that

are already becoming a reality.

“It will also help to attract and retain inward investment in the region and we therefore urge business leaders - and consumers - to get ready to capitalise on the benefits of the new network.”

BT is making 21CN available to those communities in more rural parts of the region, as well as to those in densely populated towns and cities, and in doing so is the only communications company in the world to bring next generation network services to all people, regardless of where they live.

For example, in the East of England rural Essex communities including Little Waltham and Tillingham will be connected to 21CN voice services in the same phase as Chelmsford; and villages including Sicklesmere, Suffolk, and Six Mile Bottom, Cambridgeshire, will be connected to 21CN voice services in the same phase as the city of Cambridge

The project will involve the replacement of equipment at more than 550 exchanges across the region and the installation at strategic points of 13 “metro nodes”, or super exchanges, providing routing and signalling for the unified 21CN network for voice, data and video, making it the biggest transformation the UK communications industry has ever seen.

Nearly two and a half million lines in the East of England - serving business and residential customers of all UK telecommunications operators - will eventually be transferred over to the new network.

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