BT links first clients to all-IP network

More than 100 consumers in the U.K. village of Wick are among the first customers to be connected to BT Group PLC’s latest telecommunications network, which went live Tuesday.

The BT 21st Century Network, dubbed 21CN, is one of the most ambitious network overhauls of its kind in the world. Instead of using traditional circuit-switched systems to transport phone calls, the U.K. operator is switching its entire networking infrastructure to IP (Internet Protocol) technology.

The move to an all-IP network will allow BT to offer consumers and businesses “triple-play” voice, data and video services over a single ADSL2+ (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) broadband connection, at speeds up to 24M bps (bits per second). Among the new services supported by the network are VOIP (voice over IP) and IPTV.

At the same time, the move will allow the operator to lower operating costs. It expects to save around

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