BT plans to open up public network

BT plans to open up public network
Richard Ball BT MAY GIVE competitor service providers access to its public switching telephone network if work by a consortium of communications and software companies bears fruit. BT has teamed up with DGM&S Telecom, Microsoft, Nortel and Siemens to develop specifications for an open network interface. This interface would be secure enough to allow independent providers to manipulate the underlying network, thereby offering new types of services. “At present, you rent a phone line, and are allowed to do certain things on the end of that line,” said Mike Carr, manager of BT’s technology strategy unit. The interface would allow users to access the switches, enabling the transferring of calls and data from one line to another. Carr compares the situation to that of the early days of computers. PCs such as the Commodore Pet had their application software written by Commodore. “Once people could develop their own applications, the market exploded,” said Carr. Once such access is granted, the networks must be made secure such that each user controls only a certain number of lines. This ranges from several lines for a small firm to several thousand for a large one. “When we actually deploy, the specification will imply some extra hardware and software to police the system,” said Carr.


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