BT picks Marconi to help reach 5m broadband target

Marconi Corp. PLC has announced that it has been selected by British Telecommunications PLC (BT) for the supply and installation of its Access Hub multiservice access node (MSAN) to support the ongoing rollout and development of BT’s broadband access service in the U.K.

The companies have signed a Heads of Terms agreement, and expect to sign a three-year frame contract in the near future, the first that will be awarded by BT towards building its “21st Century Network”. The agreement represents a major success for the troubled telecommunications equipment, services and solutions company.

“BT’s ambitions to build Broadband Britain are well underway,” said Paul Reynolds chief executive officer (CEO) of BT Wholesale, “but we have much more to do to deliver against our ambition of securing five million BT Broadband customers by 2006. This agreement will support us in delivering on our ambitions and underlines both BT’s and Marconi’s commitment to broadband which will deliver social, environmental and economic benefits to UK plc. It also puts Marconi at the cornerstone of BT’s 21st Century Network development strategy.”

In addition to the Access Hub platforms, Marconi is expected to provide BT with network installation, commissioning and support, as well as its ServiceOn Access network management system.

High-bandwidth services

Marconi’s Access Hub is already in use in operator networks in Italy, France, Germany, the U.K. the Middle East and South Africa. It is a multiservice access node that uses existing telephone lines to provide high-bandwidth services. The platform is typically located in an operator’s local exchange or central office, and is capable of delivering multiple access technologies from a single unified platform, enabling narrowband Plain Old Telephony Services (POTS) and broadband digital subscriber line xDSL connectivity on the same line, as well as multimedia video and data services. This allows operators to switch customers between narrowband and broadband services remotely, with the simple click of a mouse button.

The Access Hub combines the functionality of Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexers (DSLAMs) with the ability to aggregate all traffic types with one of the industry’s highest port densities and lowest running costs. DSLAMs are devices usually located in an operator’s central office or telephone exchange. They aggregate DSL connections, typically a pair of copper wires running to each customer’s premises, grooming, sending and receiving their traffic to and from the core network. With up to 40Gbps of bandwidth on the backplane, the Access Hub appeals to operators migrating their network to meet future demand for high-bandwidth services.

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