BT Group PLC has announced what it calls the most advanced transformation of any carrier’s underlying network.

Paul Reynolds, CEO of BT Wholesale, said that the 21st Century Network (21CN) initiative, transforming the PSTN to an IP infrastructure, was the “best story” in the telecoms world and promised that users would benefit from a whole range of new services.

Reynolds said that the roll-out of the IP infrastructure would start next year and would be completed by 2009, when 99.6 per cent of BT’s customers would have access to the new infrastructure. He said that the first customers could be connected by January 2005.

Perhaps more importantly for BT, he said that the transformation would mean cost savings to BT of about a