Telecom New Zealand and Alcatel have agreed on a project to build the IP Voice platform for Telecom's Next Generation Network. The project is the result of more than five years of planning and development, and is the next evolution of the Next Generation Network programme.
Telecom will invest US$220 million in new network and system capabilities to support next generation services. The first residential customers will migrate onto the new network by early 2007 and eventually all of New Zealand's 2.2 million customer lines will be transitioned to the new platform in 2012.
The investment is a critical milestone in the multi-year, US$1.4 billion transition to a totally new network platform that will deliver triple play (voice, data and video bundle) services.
Telecom Chief Operating Officer Simon Moutter said the move marks a significant milestone in determining the technology direction of Telecom's core IP Voice infrastructure for the next ten years.
"This is really fundamental for the future of telecommunications in New Zealand," Mr Moutter said. "IP Voice technology is critical to achieving the goal of integrated and converged services.
"In relatively short order we will replace the entire PSTN and be delivering all our services for customers over the IP network. That has the potential to reduce costs for customers and put a lot more control and flexibility in customers' hands, wherever they are - at home, at work or on the move.
Andrew Young, CEO of Alcatel in the Australasia region, said Telecom's IP Voice platform is the most advanced IP technology available.
"Telecommunications companies worldwide are keeping a close eye on what we are doing with Telecom in New Zealand. We're setting a new benchmark for the transition from traditional to IP network services.
For the IP Voice platform project, Telecom and Alcatel are building an IP Voice Call Control platform and Trunk Gateways to switch and process IP Voice traffic to and from the current PSTN. Also part of the project is 'Border Security' to prevent unauthorised access, detect and prevent security threats and provide voice security.
The capability to deliver an IP Voice Trunking product to connect enterprise VoIP systems to Telecom's network is contemplated in this project, as well as the adaptation of Alcatel's NGN solutions to the New Zealand environment, enabling the equipment to interoperate with other networks and billing and service management systems.
The Alcatel NGN solution for this new IP Voice infrastructure includes the Alcatel 5020 Softswitch platform that is designed to support the migration of PSTN network towards a full IP infrastructure. Additionally, the Alcatel 8690 Open Services Platform delivers next generation, multimedia services for end users. This solution will provide rapid development and deployment of high-value services for operators to generate new revenue streams ahead of the competition.