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Bell Atlantic Introduces Centrex No-Risk Technology Protection Plan
Company's Network Evolution Planned to Enable Risk-Free, Feature-Rich Migration to IP Voice Technology for New and Current Centrex Customers
June 7, 2000
Jim Smith ,
NEW YORK -- Bell Atlantic is accelerating the deployment of its converged network strategy which would enable customers to leverage the inherent benefits of Internet Protocol (IP) technology while retaining the high quality, feature rich capabilities of Bell Atlantic's Advanced Intelligent Network. As an integral part of this effort, the company today introduced a Centrex No Risk Technology Protection Plan.
The plan is intended to enable current and new Centrex customers to easily utilize Bell Atlantic's voice over IP capability as it becomes available. Because Centrex is a network-hosted, managed voice service, Centrex customers would get the benefit of the latest developments.
"Many of our major customers see significant benefits and potential future savings in leveraging their existing data networks by directing voice traffic over them," said Tom Dalrymple, director of voice access services for Bell Atlantic's Enterprise Business Group. "Our customers are very interested in how we can help them do this, and where our networking technology can take them."
The new network architecture will take advantage of Advanced Intelligent Network technology, built into Bell Atlantic's network in recent years, and will enable feature activation in conjunction with IP voice technology. "With the Centrex No Risk Technology Protection Plan, we're saying to our customers, 'come along with us, at your pace, and we will make the VoIP technology in our network work for you." Dalrymple said.
Bell Atlantic's commitment has significant appeal to decision-makers who do not want stranded investment in their telephone equipment during a time of rapid technology change. A migration that allows the use of Centrex while taking advantage of IP transport is particularly appealing, Dalrymple said.
Bell Atlantic's ongoing network modernization is among the most aggressive in the industry, with over $6 billion a year being invested in network technologies, including the company's Advanced Intelligent Network (AIN), asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) switching and high bandwidth infrastructure. By enhancing the network's power with higher-level intelligence controlling the switching, Bell Atlantic is positioning itself to route voice traffic in and out of both circuit-switched and IP networks.
Today, the Bell Atlantic network is made up largely of fiber optic facilities and SONET rings connecting a two-layer switching architecture with end offices and tandem or interoffice switches that route traffic and provide call management features familiar to Centrex users. Controlling the network is a Signaling System 7 and AIN infrastructure, which provides for call control, network database inquiries and access to features and services.
Bell Atlantic will soon be introducing ATM switches in its backbone voice network. These ATM switches will supply additional capacity needed to respond to the increased traffic demand from Internet, cellular and long distance calls and will augment or replace the existing tandem switches.
Through this approach, the traditional switching and feature functions are complemented with distributed intelligence, features and functions located in network databases. With this design, Bell Atlantic will be able to use VoIP technology efficiently and effectively while continuing to provide the high-feature functionality offered from Centrex today. New technologies, gateways and software will be introduced by Bell Atlantic as they reach the quality standards required in the public network environment.
"We recognize the importance of enabling our customers to retain traditional circuit-switched-based capabilities while migrating to IP based services and to communicate between the underlying networks", said Mark Wegleitner, chief technology officer for Bell Atlantic. "To do this, Bell Atlantic will maintain a bridge between IP and circuit switching and use AIN call control capability to direct circuit switched and IP calls.
"Having both the conventional circuit and data network capabilities at our disposal gives us complete flexibility in how we address the market," Wegleitner said. "Bell Atlantic will continue to lead in the deployment and use of advanced technology and offer customers a smooth transition for their products and services which tracks this natural evolution of technology."
"Bell Atlantic's network is an incredible customer resource," said Bruce Gordon, enterprise business group president for Bell Atlantic. "As our Centrex customers know, it is worry-free, minimizes their capital costs, grows with the pace of technology, and has powerful features. Centrex traditionally has been valued by business customers because of its scalability, strong features and functions, and its ability to provide solid business solutions.
"Taking our customers into the IP world through the network's own intelligence will prove in the long run to be a very smart way for both Bell Atlantic and its customers to partner," Gordon said. "By continuing to focus on open standards-based interworking and interoperability using multiple suppliers' components, Bell Atlantic will be able to control and manage end-to-end quality of service, including performance and security."
Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and information industry. With more than 44 million telephone access lines and more than 20 million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market leaders in wireless services and the world's largest publishers of directory information. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the world's largest investors in high-growth global communications markets, with operations and investments in 23 countries.