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August 21, 2005

Cable & Wireless unveils phase I of its NGN

UK carrier Cable & Wireless Plc has unveiled the first phase of its Next Generation Network (NGN), an end-to-end IP network with QoS, high availability and stateful failover.

By CBR Staff Writer

The first phase of the GBP190m ($340m) NGN project entails seven nodes around London, with another seven to go into the UK capital in the second phase.

Beyond that, we plan to go national over the next three years, though which areas we go to first depend on negotiations with corporate customers, said CTO Paul Buttery.

Of course, that rollout may also be affected and indeed accelerated by the company’s $1bn acquisition, announced last week, of Energis, a rival UK carrier also focusing on the corporate market, as the latter already has a nationwide MPLS network.

Buttery said C&W also runs a national MPLS network, the difference between that and its NGN being that, though the latter also runs over MPLS, it incorporates new equipment that enables the kind of quality of service, high availability and stateful failover features not previously available on its national network.

The unveiling of the NGN, albeit only in its first phase, gives C&W some much needed boasting rights over archrival BT Group Plc, which has only just named the preferred contractors for its $20bn 21st Century Network project. The London-based network operator has sold off international network infrastructure in recent years, and so is seen by some as having retrenched back to the UK.

Buttery counters that view, however, arguing that C&W retained points of presence (PoPs) on the networks it sold in the US, Europe and Asia, allowing it to go after business with corporate customers that require international WAN connectivity, said its Buttery. The company cites the example of international food company Heinz, for which it provides an IP network across Europe.

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