Italian state-owned telecommunications equipment manufacturer Italtel SpA has signed an agreement with Bell Atlantic Corp under which the Atlanta phone company will take Italtel’s attached 32 bit applications processor system for evaluation as a Centrex service enhancement on its AT&T Co 5ESS public telephone exchanges. The aim is to gauge its potential to offer voice and data networking directly from the local exchange and customised Centrex or virtual private network facilties. Testing should be completed by the end of 1988. Called Dawn, for Distributed Architecture Wide Area Network, but sold as the Office AP medium sized PABX attachment in Italy, the equipment is a combination multi-processor switching system based on Motorola 68020 running Unix and handling up 2,000 lines for voice and data messaging. Bell Atlantic apparently liked the fact that it had Unix for applications development and that the distributed architecture will allow multiple processing system to be dispersed as remote nodes on or near user sites working in tandem with the central switch. It is Italtel’s entry into the US market and it is seeking distribution for Dawn through US resellers. The agreement with Bell Atlantic does not preclude it from approaching other regional Bell operating companies. Italtel also has other useful US links: a $2m interest in Tritech Laboratories, North Andover, Massachusetts, which is involved in applications development for Dawn. Applications from San Jose based Counterpoint Computer Corp’s Unix-based systems are also likely to be implemented on Dawn.