BT Ignite and Cisco construct colossal Internet backbone for Europe

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In a deal worth around $300 million, Cisco Systems has been chosen by BT Ignite to grow the company’s next-generation IP backbone - Colossus - over the next two years.

This new world Internet core will increase by 500% BT Ignite’s capacity to deliver broadband services across the UK - from 50 G/bts to 250 G/bts. By the time of completion, the network capacity will have grown by 10,500%.

According to International Data Corporation, the market for broadband access services is among the fastest growing and most dynamic of all telecom markets .

The expanded network will increase BT Ignite’s ability to deploy application hosting, content distribution networks, IP virtual private networks and entertainment services such as digital video or streaming media. The move will also benefit BT’s broadband programme, which converts copper phone lines into high-speed data lines, allowing delivery of multimedia services to the home.

“The new network will enable BT to provide all of its customers with enhanced and innovative voice and data service over the same network, providing value-add while saving bottom-line operating costs,” said Paul Mountford, vice president for Cisco’s service provider line of business in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

“We aim to enrich our customers Internet experience by providing them with better and faster Internet access - while offering a broad variety of IP-based services and solutions to meet the demands of the 21st century,” said Paul Excell, vice president of BT Ignite Internet Engineering. “We have just announced a new real-time multimedia VoIP service, which will be trialling with UK business customers.”

With data traffic now more common than voice on public telephone networks, operators like BT are switching to IP-based networks as a cost-saving measure and a way to deal with increased data loads. Single networks are simpler to manage, requiring fewer resources.

The end-to-end architecture, jointly developed by BT Ignite and Cisco, uses the Cisco 12016 Series router, which will provide a core infrastructure based upon multiple STM-64 (10Gig) trunks. BT Ignite will deploy technology from across the whole Cisco portfolio, from the 12000 Series backbone router family to the 10000 Edge Service Router. The router allows BT’s backbone to grow as demand increases.

Ignite’s network has more than a hundred service PoPs which interconnect local repositories, providing a secure environment to host local content for virtual ISPs, ASPs and e-businesses. Ignite has been created to provide a complete communications portfolio to corporate and wholesale customers anywhere in the world. It is the first global organisation to commit to delivering the entire IP value chain - from core networks and internet connectivity through to e-commerce consultancy and solutions - with a unique blend of content hosting, application service provision, systems integration and outsourcing capabilities.

Ignite is already outstripping its nearest competitors in terms of traditional measures of route kilometres, number and size of hosting centres, local sales and service support teams and depth of country coverage. In Europe, Ignite already has twice the broadband reach of its competitors and, through a three-year, $5.7 billion (£4 billion) investment programme, will be able to deliver its portfolio to more than 250 European cities over its own networks by the end of 2001, and to all the worlds’ commercial centres through BT’s international alliances and partnerships.

BT Ignite

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