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BT Invests Heavily in Data Network Upgrade

British Telecom announced this week it is investing another 300 million UK pounds ($490 million) in data network modernization in an effort to support the "rapid growth in Internet and data communications services."

"Our goal is simple--to help our customers to take advantage of the 'data wave' and the tremendous business opportunities offered by the Internet and company intranets," said Chris Earnshaw, Managing Director of BT's Networks and Systems.

"With this investment, not only can we meet demand--we can exceed it. It will enable BT to continue leading the implementation of a national broadband infrastructure for the integration of voice, data and video applications over a single network."

Although BT already has the biggest high-speed, high-capacity broadband multi-service network in Europe, the investment will allow expansion for more data services to the finance, retail, IT, education, manufacturing and media sectors. BT said it is committed to becoming the world's leading provider of data and broadband services "into the next millennium."

BT anticipates that the data market in the UK alone will grow from its current 3.5 billion UK pounds to 7.5 billion by the year 2003. To meet demand, the company will create a common multi-service broadband network using Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) technology.

In effect, this will be an expansion of its existing CellStream service, which launched in June 1996 as the first national ATM service in the UK. BT will migrate its Switched Multi-megabit Data Service (SMDS) to the multi-service network, followed by Frame Relay and all of BT's Internet products and services.



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