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BT Plans Move To IP Telephony, Starting Next Year

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the kin-y'-hyeah-me-now dept.

Communications 228

pure_equanimity writes "The BBC have published an article saying that BT are planning to migrate from a PSTN to an IP network, a move to cost 3bn. They say that broadband will become ubiquitous, with customers having the ability to plug any device in to get access. They also say that current cheap broadband products will more than likely not be viable in five years time. They plan to start rolling out in 2006, and cover the vast majority of customers by 2009."

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Acquirement (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9385046)

SPC acquires GNAA, Copyrights

June 10, 2004: The South Philly Cru (stock symbol: SPC) has announced its hostile takeover of the Gay Nigger Association of America, or GNAA.

Along with the takeover, all copyrights of "the Goatse man" have been transferred to the SPC. Copyright infringment lawsuits will be withheld until the end of the fiscal year 2005.

Re:Acquirement (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9385094)

You'll do nothing and -like- it.

Re:Acquirement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9385232)

Feeding the trolls... I know...

But really - it's "Acquisition"!

another stupid first post attempt (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9385047)

and i didn't read the article hahahah

Re:another stupid first post attempt (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9385056)

damn, looks like i got what i deserved :(

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9385050)

fp

Wow - That's unexpected (4, Insightful)

Nurgled (63197) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385054)

This was the last thing I expected from BT after their faffing about with getting DSL sorted out a few years back. This should be interesting...

Too bad I'm not a BT customer. I wonder what will become of all of the mini-telcos which currently hang off BT's network.

So... (4, Interesting)

macshune (628296) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385058)

"They also say that current cheap broadband products will more than likely not be viable in five years time. They plan to start rolling out in 2006, and cover the vast majority of customers by 2009."

So they are gonna hook customers up right before the prices go up? I thought prices would go down as time marches on? What about all that "dark fiber"?

Re:So... (4, Informative)

Tooky (15656) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385211)

So they are gonna hook customers up right before the prices go up? I thought prices would go down as time marches on? What about all that "dark fiber"?

Reading the article I took it to mean that cheap broadband IP telephony products would be unviable in 5 years time, not broadband internet per se.

PSTN? (4, Informative)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385062)

I'll admit I had to look this one up, if ya woulda said POTS, I would of known right off the bat.

Public Switched Telephone Network btw.

Re:PSTN? (1)

Nurgled (63197) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385096)

British terminology, my friend. :)

Re:PSTN? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9385115)

PSTN is defined in the BBC news article. However, it was apparently easier for the parent to look up PSTN (presumably a Google search or similar) than it was to RTFA. A get Informative +4 for it.

Re:PSTN? (3, Funny)

PowerBert (265553) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385222)

Rubbish!

Back in my day PSTN was "Packet Switched Telephone Network". It was called that because it used packet switching to route information. Whoever heard of Public switching?

Public switching:

1. An outdated communications protocol used before IP on the original internet in 1500BC. It was slow by todays standards, had no means of error checking and could not gaurentee delivery. It's still used today, but only at childrens parties where it is more often referred to as Chinese whispers.

2. A method for routing humans around the world. It is used mostly at airports and train stations to route people to their destination via the most efficient link. Two people may travel to the same destination, but be switched through different routes. As a result people may arrive in a different order. Unfortunately the protocol has no method for reordering people, which is why the Airtours REP protocol is often used in conjunction with this network.

Re:PSTN? (4, Informative)

stoborrobots (577882) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385244)

It's a Switched Telephone Network for Public use... as opposed to Private Automatic Branch eXchange...

"Public Switching"... Heh!

Re:PSTN? (5, Informative)

Alioth (221270) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385318)

Actually, PSTN does stand for Public Switched Telephone Network - the public bit meaning not private (as in PABX - Private Automatic Branch eXchange).

Packet switching on telephone networks is a relatively new thing (compared to the history of automatic telephone switching). Until 20 years ago, most telephone switching was still done by electromechanical machines (google for Strowger Telephone Exchange) - huge rooms full of physical switches (uniselectors, bidirectional selectors) and relays which moved and clattered as subscribers dialed telephone numbers; the tones (such as ringing, number unobtainable, engaged etc) generated by a motor-driven machine. If you go to the London Science Museum, they have part of one of these exchanges you can play with.
Trunk calls were routed using analogue frequency division multiplexing rather than packet switching. Signalling between mechanical telephone exchanges was done at voice frequencies (for example, the famous 2600Hz tone - in Britain, the frequency was different and it was known as 2VF - if you listen to some Radio 4 radio plays you'll find the sound engineers still like inserting the 'pip' sound when someone answers a call which you heard when the 2VF signalling wasn't quite fully supressed from reaching the subscriber's phone. These 'pip' sounds probably disappeared from the public network 20 years ago but the sound engys at the BBC seem to like them).

Re:PSTN? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9385259)

"Public". Right. What is it that makes people think they have to post to every damn topic? We've got someone who knows squat about telephony, who looks up the acronym and gets it wrong, then idiot moderators give him a "4, Informative" for (a) displaying ignorance, (b) displaying an ability to look something up and remember it incorrectly, (c) adding pointless noise to the thread.

Jeez, what's this need people have to boast that they're stumbling around in the foothills of the learning curve?

Yea... (4, Insightful)

Deltan (217782) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385063)

Good Luck with that BT. There are tons of people out there with old rotary phones still, utilizing pulse dialing. They're not going to get some old lady to change her pots phone for some fancy IP phone.

Re:Yea... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9385105)

It's okay. They'll all die eventually.

Re:Yea... (1)

SMOC (703423) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385151)

It's FUNNY because it's TRUE!

Re:Yea... (2, Informative)

Tranzig (786710) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385116)

I don't how things happen there but many elderly switched to ISDN here a couple years ago, only because they were persuaded by the ads. They don't know Internet at all, and their only reason for swiching was: ``They said it's faster''.

Re:Yea... (4, Informative)

Zog The Undeniable (632031) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385123)

All BT's exchanges have been System X (digital) for a few years now, but pulse-dialling still works in software, should you want it. The main reason some people still have dial phones is that they were hardwired to the wall, and it's an offence to get anyone but BT to install a modern plug-in wall box. At a cost.

Re:Yea... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9385145)

Well, actually, I still use pulse dialling, on a 20 year old cheap plug-in phone. And I'll resist having to shell out for a new phone as long as I possibly can; I hardly use the phone at all, (less than 1 hour per quarter, and that's WAY up from a year ago) and don't need any of the extra cost BT "services" that you can get with a tone dialler.

On the other hand, I do have an ADSL modem/router....

Re:Yea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9385172)

My parents had an old phone hardwired into the wall. They switched to Telecential (who were then bought up by NTL), but they had to call BT and ask them to physically remove the BT phone line to the house before BT would take away the old phone!
The pain involved in getting NTL to disconnect their phone service when they moved house a few years later is another story...

Re:Yea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9385195)

..it's an offence to get anyone but BT to install a modern plug-in wall box. At a cost.

BT provided free conversion to any customer that wanted it for over 15 years. All they had to do was ask. Eventually so few people were asking that BT finally said "Well, you've all had your chance and it's costing us too much money to keep doing it for free. You'll have to pay now" 15 years is plenty of time for everyone to have their socket replaced.

Re:Yea... (1)

NotWulfen (219204) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385193)

POTS > IP Telephony bridge in the NID... :)

Actually... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9385272)

the majority of BT users rent their phones for an annual cost that is far greater than buying one.. check out the House of Lords report. So it should be easy for BT to send them a new one, because they already own the rented one.

Re:Yea... (4, Informative)

curator_thew (778098) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385277)

"They're not going to get some old lady to change her pots phone for some fancy IP phone"

Did you comprehend the article? This is more about their internal network, rather than the customer equipment.

They will convert their entire internal network into VOIP, so even if you have an old analog POTS line, your calls will be VOIP'd between exchanges.

Naturally, once they have a native internal VOIP network, then they're in a better position to offer interesting VOIP services directly to the customer. But a vast majority of customers will still be using analog POTS.

It's hardly surprising: if they don't do this then they will fall behind in offering the kinds of innovative services that upstart VOIP vendors can offer. It also makes for better service integration and interoperation with future 4G technologies, etc.

rims? (3, Interesting)

narkotix (576944) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385065)

do people in britain (and other countries) suffer from the RIM syndrome? ie being on a remote integrated multiplexor? or even being pairgained? If its common over there, does that mean BT will be ugprading all their exchanges?

Re:rims? (2, Funny)

natd (723818) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385087)

Even worse. Lookup Milton Keynes.

Re:rims? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9385095)

http://www.bb4mk.org/
im assuming thats the right one?

Re:rims? (3, Funny)

Brie and gherkins (778845) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385101)

WTFAYBOA?

Good God man, what the blazes?

I have phone, I plug in wall, I call my mamma. No thankyou multiplexor pargainer, not today, Goodbye!

Re:rims? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9385315)

dont you mean OMGLOLWTFBBQ?

Re:rims? (3, Informative)

Dogers (446369) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385127)

I can only assume you mean DAC's? Where a cable is split into effectively 2 seperate lines (limiting your modem dialup to 28k, no matter what)

Yes, they use it a lot here, but I dont think its an exchange limitation (generally anyway) - it seems to be more of a local box/cabling thing.. when we had an extra 3 lines put in the engineer said if we got 1 more, BT would have to upgrade the cable from the exchange to the subbox, then to our house! He also mumbled something about that probably helping them justify updating the exchange to DSL as well, but being students at the time, we couldnt afford the "chance" of DSL for the cost of another line :(

Re:rims? (1)

narkotix (576944) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385156)

I can only assume you mean DAC's? Where a cable is split into effectively 2 seperate lines (limiting your modem dialup to 28k, no matter what)

exactly right but telco's have a tendency to split one actual line into two so you and your neighbour get 1 line each to save running 2 separate lines.

Re:rims? (1)

Ewan (5533) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385279)

It's more common in the UK if you get a 2nd phone line installed instead - at that point you just get a splitter installed not a 2nd line.

Ewan

Re:rims? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9385157)

Do you mean DACS?

AFAIK this is where there arent enough pairs to give each customer their own, so they share one pair. the alalog signal is digitised in the DACS, multiplexed down one pair then de-multiplexed at the exchange.

Very bad for people wanting to use modems on their line!

cheap 'international' effect calls (1)

kefa (640985) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385067)

Does this mean we can look forward to delay effects normally associated with international calls when making local calls?

So what numbers will we use (0)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385068)

Im having trouble remembering peoples seven digit numbers. What happens when your telephone number is 153.127.879.946. What happens if it's IPv6!! P.S. This isn't meant to be funny. I'm dead serious.

Re:So what numbers will we use (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385080)

Forgive me if I don't get the technology right here.

We don't remember IP address for websites at the moment. We use DNS. Would the same not be true for your example?

Re:So what numbers will we use (3, Interesting)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385081)

Well, everyone will just register a .phone domain for themselves, so you can just call them by name.

God help you if you're John Smith!

Re:So what numbers will we use (3, Informative)

ciroknight (601098) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385083)

Most likely they'll continue to use phone numbers. It's too much of an investment to try to change the number system, and on top of that, it'd be much harder for a traditional telephone to call an IP number.

Basically, they're turning the voice data into packets and then sending the packets across their network, improving the effeciency of their lines. There's been a lot of discussion about this lately actually. Either way, I wish the american phone companies would get on the ball...

Re:So what numbers will we use (5, Funny)

ZombieEngineer (738752) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385086)

When you go to IPv6, it makes it nigh impossible for sales people to cold call your unlisted IP address.

ZombieEngineer

Re:So what numbers will we use (1)

HappyClown (668699) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385089)

There's no reason why they can't map existing phone numbers to an IP address. In fact it's almost certain that this is what will happen - consider the expense to (and outcry from!) local businesses if they all had to change their signs, business cards, advertisments, ...

Over time there's the possibility of moving towards other IDs such as domain names or what have you. Raw IPs aren't likely to ever be visible to anyone but the nerds.

Re:So what numbers will we use (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9385219)

consider the expense to (and outcry from!) local businesses if they all had to change their signs, business cards, advertisments, ...

Hah! You'd be shocked at how often the numbers do change here. Nearly fifteen years ago the area codes for London were split into two. Then about ten years ago all of the area codes changed, and some areas got brand new area codes. The London codes changed again. Then a couple of years ago the codes changed again for some areas, and instead of every U.K area code starting with 01, they added 02xx codes as well. London changed again.

Area codes in the U.K are a fucking pain in the ass, and doubly so if you live in London. I thought the old system of 01xxx was fine, and made a lot of sense, but then they decided that 999 possible area codes in the 01xxx range wasn't enough and they needed an extra 999 codes in the 02xxx range, and just in case the 03xxx range is reserved for yet more area codes. Should the United Kingdom ever require 2,997 area codes I guess we'll be glad, but I can't see it happening somehow.

Re:So what numbers will we use (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9385275)

No way there are enough IPv4 adresses for this. Perhaps BT can get enough addresses, meybe even the next telco who tries to do this, but globally this is not a solution.

Now if they used IPv6... perhaps this will be the "killer app" for IPv6?

Re:So what numbers will we use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9385282)

You don't realise that BT have done this many, many times already. A few years ago saw "phONE day" [sic] when all area codes that began with a zero, which was the vast majority, were changed to 01 because of all the new fax machines and ISDN lines that required numbers. My Portsmouth number went from 0705 to 01705. This happened across the land with signwriters, printers etc. cashing in.

Then, a few years later BT announce that there are still not enough numbers so Portsmouth was changed from 01705 to 023 with 92 in front of every local number. Southampton was ALSO given 023 but with 80 in front of the local numbers, rather than their own area code which they had originally (01703).

Currently some cities have three digits,
Large areas have four (Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland and the surrounding area all share 0191)
Other towns and cities have the traditional five digits.

It's a mess so don't expect BT to worry about the cost of printing new letterheads. It never stopped them before.

Re:So what numbers will we use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9385099)

Come on, man. Two last parts of ip numbers are impossible. Sure you got the right tel. no? ;)

hannu

Re:So what numbers will we use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9385109)

Come on, man. The two latter parts are out of domain for ip-numbers. Are you sure, You've got the right telephone number? ;)

hannu

Re:So what numbers will we use (3, Interesting)

WarwickRyan (780794) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385124)

The backend is going to be IP based you fool. So we'll still have telephone numbers etc, but BT will route all of the call data via IP. So, basically, they'll reduce the already tiny operating costs even more, whilst attempting to bump up the cost of xDSL even further. They'll probably argue along the lines of "Mr X uses much more bandwidth now so we have to charge more". The excess bandwidth being Mr X's telephone calls, which he is already paying for.

Re:So what numbers will we use (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385146)

My concern was less over the form of the number than its size.

I had read that companies in the states gave out 10 digit phone numbers to their VOIP customers.

Re:So what numbers will we use (1)

ErichTheWebGuy (745925) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385200)

I had read that companies in the states gave out 10 digit phone numbers to their VOIP customers.

I (along with the rest of my company) use VoIP phones. We all have 7 digit direct dial numbers. If someone from outside the local area code wants to call, of course they must use 10 digits.

The exceptions are in some major metro areas, like Denver, CO. There, all dialing, both local and long distance, is 10 digit, both PSTN and VoIP.

Re:So what numbers will we use (2, Insightful)

eyeye (653962) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385225)

UK people already have 11 digit telephone numbers (more or less) so that would be an improvement!

I dont trust BT to make a success of this as they are total shite at dealing with internet technologies.

Charge by the MB (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9385073)

You can bet their charging scheme will change to p/minute to p/MB of data. That way they can cash in on all the "free" telephony.

Re:Charge by the MB (3, Funny)

Brie and gherkins (778845) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385140)

I personally enjoy spending incalcuable amounts of money for telephony. I have a 200+ special, but only on the same network, 25p peak unless I call my grandmother after texting twice in which case it's 17p per minute, unless I'm in the lounge when there's a leisure discount. Coupled with a supersaver from Virgin, Wannabeatelco, provided that I prefix 17 digits to the number then I can get additional discounts. Do you remember walking to the red phonebox and waiting, striking up a conversation with others in the queue, 5p pieces in hand? Simple and tangible is good

Cheap broadband products (3, Informative)

funkytwig (780501) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385074)

"cheap broadband products will more than likely not be viable in five years time"

BT don't do any cheap broadband products, only expensive overpriced ones :-)

bandwidth capacity? (2, Insightful)

Ubi_NL (313657) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385076)

Does anyone have an idea how all this phone traffic is going to affect the load on the entire internet? I assume it's UDP but stil... I have the feeling the backbone routers are busy enough already with all the other traffic

Re:bandwidth capacity? (3, Informative)

tokachu(k) (780007) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385088)

Uncompressed telephone-qualtiy audio as PCM takes up 64 kbps (8 KB/s), just like an ISDN channel.

It will certainly not be as bad, load-wise, as installing high-speed Internet access.

Re:bandwidth capacity? (1)

Babbster (107076) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385198)

Installing high-speed Internet access isn't what puts stress on the overall system. It's the use of that access which can potentially cause troubles.

Re:bandwidth capacity? (3, Interesting)

Nurgled (63197) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385117)

I imagine that the majority of phone call traffic will never leave BT's network, since the uptake of IP telephony in the rest of the world is still quite small.

Even if similar moves are made in other countries, I'm sure BT have some connections that could keep it local until it hits the remote exchange.

UK is temporatily unavailable. (4, Funny)

Big Nothing (229456) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385097)

Phone service to the UK is temporatily unavailable due to the Sasser.Q virus. Please try again later.

Powersource? (2, Interesting)

sirdude (578412) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385100)

From what I understand, currently phones work when there's a power outage because the current copper line network always has a mild voltage in it.. Just wondering if that will change if the phones are connected via a fibre network..

Re:Powersource? (1)

Dogers (446369) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385132)

something along the lines of power over ethernet might be in line :)

Re:Powersource? (2, Insightful)

Baricom (763970) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385135)

...currently phones work when there's a power outage because the current copper line network always has a mild voltage in it.

They work because the phone company has backup power - batteries and generators. See How Stuff Works [howstuffworks.com] .

However, you bring up an interesting point about fiber - unlike copper, you need to provide power for the devices on either end. From the article:

We anticipate that millions of people will use the phone in the same way...

This makes me think that the VOIP network may have copper wiring along the last mile, meaning it's very similar to how most phone companies are set up today. Nothing new to see here.

More on how the telephone network works (fascinating stuff) can be found here [howstuffworks.com] .

Re:Powersource? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9385165)

Don't worry. The government will restore your conversation from their backups as soon as power is restored :/

Re:Powersource? (3, Informative)

NotWulfen (219204) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385184)

That mild voltage is supplied by the central office via huge banks of batteries supplying a 48V DC feed.

Since a lot of COs and switching centers already have this massive infrastructure for supplying DC power most (if not all) internetworking equipment can be obtained in DC power supply versions.

So yes, the equipment at the CO will stay up through a power outage because it'll still be powered by those 48V batteries, equipment at the customer end is a completely different thing... but unless it's a full FTTH solution there are options for getting power to the CPE, like power over ethernet (if they use an ethernet last mile), and iirc there are power distribution solutions for coax if they decide to go that route.

The Skype Telephone (3, Interesting)

Beautyon (214567) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385102)

When Skype [skype.com] come out with their telephone kit that plugs straight into the new BT network will BT cut off people trying to use another handset? They might, but they wont get away with it.

This is going to be the biggest revolution in telephony the UK has ever seen. Whilst a Skype handset might not connect you to phones that are not on their network, if enough people use it, it could supplant the BT network and destroy their business.

I wonder how they are going to charge for the service, obviously line rental, which will be the minimum they will be able to collect from each user, but taking into consideration the ease with which people will be able to switch providers, their churn rate will be very high indeed.

Basically, they are going to spend 3 billion to put themselvs out of business. Great!

Re:The Skype Telephone (1)

mrbill1234 (715607) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385118)

Easy, they'll charge by the Megabyte.

Re:The Skype Telephone (1)

spacefight (577141) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385164)

You can use the Skype Handset just with any kind of broadband internet connection, it doesn't matter what the underlying medium is (telephone wire, cable etc) and what it's based on.

Re:The Skype Telephone (2, Insightful)

Oakey (311319) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385246)

I don't see the big deal about Skype, to me it just appears to be like any other Instant Messaging service, no? I can do exactly the same thing with MSN, although according to the site they say MSN's audio quality is lower.

However, as I said, it seems nothing more than another IM client, and you can bet your ass MS will go right ahead and implement a similar thing into Messenger.

Re:The Skype Telephone (4, Interesting)

onion2k (203094) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385250)

Basically, they are going to spend 3 billion to put themselvs out of business. Great!

Wrong. They've realised that things like Skype will put them out of business if they don't move on, so they're shifting away from traditional voice comms and entirely into data comms. They'll change their pricing accordingly too, probably to a charge based on the amount of data you use rather than an amount of time.

Its the old style voice telcos that are going to be disappearing.

Re:The Skype Telephone (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385265)

if you can use that skype without buying a data connection, then they might lose... ...which is basically why they're doing these investments, to not go out of business and to be better prepared for providing that data connection.

-

Letters (1)

Brie and gherkins (778845) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385120)

You remember surely.... and I would like to see the telegram - only in designated sub post offices on a Wednesday afternoon. Does VOIP mean I'll have to convey my lusty conversations via Deepak in Delhi with that lovely poor quality distortion that I'm at a loss to describe. "Dear, he is saying that he is - weooooeeoosd - with you"

Those dates won't be in base 10 (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9385131)

Those without any experience of BT, especially as business customers should know that 2026 will be the more likely date. It is still a glacially slow behemoth that acts with sniffy surprise when expected permit competition in the marketplace.

Who the f*ck is BT? ;-) (0)

DaneelGiskard (222145) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385139)

Ok...

Me: Reading /. news, ask myself who is BT (What does the abbreviation mean?)?
Me: Clicking on story link...they only use BT..damnit...
Me: Clicking on press relase...no mention what BT means
Me: Clicking on company logo to get to their homepage - no mention what BT means
Me: Fireing up google ... typing in BT
Google:
BT.com Homepage ... first six months. Plus, order online and receive a 20 bill credit.
Find out more Find out more about BT Mobile Plan, At home for ...
www.bt.com/ - 29k - 8 Jun 2004 - Cached - Similar pages - Stock quotes: BTY

Ok...I give up. What does BT mean? British Telecom or something?

*sigh*

Re:Who the f*ck is BT? ;-) (3, Funny)

Brie and gherkins (778845) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385158)

Yes old chum. Try taking The Times for a few weeks, you'll soon understand what the Empire is about.

Re:Who the f*ck is BT? ;-) (1)

maubp (303462) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385162)

Ok...I give up. What does BT mean? British Telecom or something?
Yes, or at least it used to be.

Re:Who the f*ck is BT? ;-) (2, Informative)

Conor Turton (639827) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385170)

Yes, it is British Telecom. Originally it was public owned and was the only telco in the UK with the exception of Kingston Communications, a Hull City coucil run telco only available to the residents of Kingston Upon Hull. B.T was then privatised. It is the largest Telco in the UK. With the exception of a few cable companies operating in limited areas and Kingston Communications, B.T still owns most of the telephone exchanges in the UK and if you want to provide a DSL/Phone service you have to do it over their lines.

Re:Who the f*ck is BT? ;-) (3, Informative)

l-ascorbic (200822) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385176)

BT is BT. Sure, officially they are British Telecommunications plc, but it's not like you'd bother looking up what AT&T stood for, when all you needed to know was "it's a big telco".

Re:Who the f*ck is BT? ;-) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9385187)

They used to be called British Telecom - they were spun off from the Post Office in 1981. They became a plc when privatised in 1984, then became just plain BT (with the letters officially not standing for anything) in a corporate rebranding in 1991. (From their company timeline [btplc.com] )

Re:Who the f*ck is BT? ;-) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9385217)

Oh for christs sake...
Americans...

It is by far the hughest telecom company in the UK, it runs most household phones and all phone boxes.
So their website is like that cause all potential customers have known about them since they were born.

Re:Who the f*ck is BT? ;-) (1)

DaneelGiskard (222145) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385309)

I'm from Austria ;-)

Actually I realized it is the British Telecom, I just wanted to point out that not everyone in the world might know what BT stands for...

Re:Who the f*ck is BT? ;-) (1)

barnzi (760875) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385291)

BT == Bloody Tyrants
(or something more unpleasant)

My phone line from BT has a fault that causes POTS modems connected to it to die after 2-3 months service.

Slightly cheesed that BT was nuking my (BABT/BT approved) modems, I ring up their fault helpline and complain. The response: "BT is not required to provide a telephone line fit for data-communications to residential customers." WTF? They will still sell you internet access, but apparently they don't have to provide it!

Re:Who the f*ck is BT? ;-) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9385308)

It actually stands for Brighton City football club.

background info (3, Informative)

dncsky1530 (711564) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385142)

This might help: [fact-index.com]
The public switched telephone network (PSTN) is the concatenation of the world's public circuit-switched [fact-index.com] telephone [fact-index.com] networks, in much the same way that the Internet [fact-index.com] is the concatenation of the world's public IP [fact-index.com] -based packet-switched [fact-index.com] networks. Originally a network of fixed-line analog telephone systems, the PSTN is now almost entirely digital, and now includes mobile [fact-index.com] as well as fixed telephones.

Grreat...but (3, Insightful)

Lorhk (746477) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385144)

It fills me with dread to hear this news. I'm living in an area where BT have still not yet managed to install a DSL network. To hear that they've got more plans when they haven't even finished their old broadband roll out after god knows how many years seems plain stupid. It makes me angry.

Re:Grreat...but (1)

Conor Turton (639827) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385175)

REad www.adslguide.org.uk

BT plans to have a 99.6% broadband rollout by next summer so you should be convered. They're also trialling >5km ADSL connections (up to 11km AFAIK) in Milton Keynes and if the trial is successful it should sort out the problems of those living in the back of beyond although speeds may be limited to 256k but its still better than dialup.

Not going to happen... (4, Insightful)

MancDiceman (776332) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385168)

This is a fairy tale dreamt up for investors, and you can expect within 2 years an announcement that it's all much harder than expected.

The UK phone network is not a simple beast, and not like any other phone network in the world. I suspect they're putting down the plan and hoping that they can start angling for some government "investment" to replace the absolute crud we have in place at the moment.

I would advise caution however, when BT announce anything at all. Remember this is the company who announced "universal" broadband 15 years ago and sat on the technology when it became available until they were effectively bullied into it.

Re:Not going to happen... (2, Interesting)

elleomea (749084) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385268)

To be fair this is also the company that wanted to roll out fibre connections to every home in the UK, but were stopped by Thatcher.

they should patent their method (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9385183)

they should patent their method of implementation....

and then slashdot would have a field day critcising it

brainless uninventive loserssssssssssssss

From your friendly patent attorney

As usual... (3, Insightful)

dj245 (732906) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385203)

The press conference sounds like this is a very good thing. However, Voip for an entire country is a really bad idea. My personal experience with consisted of dropped calls, bad connections, lag, and echos. Not to mention the week of one-way voice, where people could hear me but I couldn't hear them; which finally gave me no choice but to cancel the service.

The technology for this just isn't ready. The internet wasn't designed for having all these low-latency desiring services tacked onto it, and not everyone has a 50ms ping. What worries me about this is that the brits don't seem to have a choice in the matter, and are being shepherded into this under the guise of "new technology, newer is better".

The sad truth is the individual pieces work ok, but put the ISP, the routers, the voip boxes together, and you've got one hell of a mess.

Re:As usual... (5, Insightful)

Xrikcus (207545) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385210)

But it's a very different thing trying to use VOIP over the internet itself, general public data networks with little by way of service guarantees, and converting a managed telecom backbone network to use IP.

Its not just the network , its IP itself (2, Interesting)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385226)

The Internet Protocol was originally designed for non realtime applications. In the last few decades it has been shoehorned into various realtime applications , IP telephony being one, online games being another. And it sort of works. But not very well without a HELL of a lot of high end hardware to help it along. Some things are best left to propriatary protocols , they do one thing and they do it well. Speech is one of these things that would be better served with one of these (and in fact a lot are used). I simply don't understand this headlong rush into using IP for everything , its a general purpose protocol for sure but this means its a jack of all trades master of none. Isn't it time that companies who should know what they are doing ignore all the hype and bandwagons with fairly flat tyres from the startups desperate to flog VOIP to stay afloat and use their expertese to design something for the 21st century , not use an overworked protocol from the 1970s?

Re:As usual... (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385286)

meh.

It's going to work when done properly, they'll own the whole network so they can make it work properly. They won't be dependant on other people having their networks working.. like when using the internet itself.

.

An opportunity for you to be proved right (2, Insightful)

Andy Smith (55346) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385254)

What I think would be interesting is if people who are familiar with the technology would explain how this changeover could be done in such a way as to have (a) the most negative impact on consumers and (b) the most unfairly anti-competitive impact on the telecoms industry.

Then in six years we can look back at this thread and see if that's how BT did it.

Obvious one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9385255)

All your phones are belong to us

It's a nice idea... (1)

Singletoned (619322) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385258)

It really is a nice idea, but the concept of BT managing to do anything in a timely (or even successful) manner is entirely incomprehensable.

It took them ten years to get to the current stage of broadband, and that hardly involved much work. This won't be completed until around 2099.

Regulator approval (2, Interesting)

WarwickRyan (780794) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385273)

It's worth pointing out that this may not be a done deal.

In the UK the telecoms industry has until recently been regulated by an organisation called Oftel. They have recently been replaced by a much broader regulator called Ofcom (http://www.ofcom.org.uk/).

Their job is to try and ensure that the communications industry as a whole remains competitive. Which generally involves keeping BT on a short leash.

This is the first major announcement from BT since Ofcom came into existence, so they may want attempt to use this as an opportunity to stamp their authority on BT. Though if Oftel is anything to go by they'll probably be BT's lapdogs..

Cheap? (3, Funny)

FrostedWheat (172733) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385280)

They also say that current cheap broadband products will more than likely not be viable in five years time

BT have cheap broadband products? Yikes, they've kept that well hidden!

Will this be going to IPV6 or IPV4? (4, Insightful)

Afty0r (263037) | more than 10 years ago | (#9385311)

One of these would be extremely good for the UK and very forward thinking, the other would be investing money in a technology already straining to bursting point...

And on another note, how cool will it be to have links like <a href="phonecall:phone.mydomain.com">Phone Me!</a> on websites - how long until we have that I wonder?

Dont Believe BT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9385320)

Given that BT developed DSL technology, yet were among the last to implement it. And if you compare the league of DSLed countries, the UKL lags behind lots of countries.

BT have a poor record of finishing anything they start.

They also have a record of pricing products to produce maximum profits. (witness ADSL costs, ISDN costs .. dont even try to look at SDSL costs).
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