IP Phone Network for Cardiff, Wales by 2010

By mikelove, published at 10 May 2007 - 8:12pm, last updated 12 years 17 weeks ago.

via CNN Money/Fortune
(found on SmartMobs)

I honestly don't know enough about phone networks to understand what a switch to an IP phone network really means, but it looks very promising.

BT (Research), (British Telecom) the incumbent phone company in the United Kingdom, is planning to shut off all of its legacy phone networks - a hodge podge of systems that includes the traditional "circuit switched" system that has served as the architecture for delivering phone calls for more than a century - by 2010. In its place, BT is installing a single network based on Internet Protocol, the language of the Internet. And the first town to make the conversion to the new network is Cardiff, a former coal port.

My favorite part of this story is how BT took its cue from Google Maps, which has popularized the open API, user generated innovation model.

By moving to an Internet-based architecture, British Telecom enables that tinkering teen to spend time he might have dedicated to making Google "mashups" to creating a fun application for the phone network. "We are doing what Google is doing," says Reynolds, referring to Google's (Research) willingness to make some of its application programming interfaces (APIs) available to the public.

Phone companies haven't embraced this open model in the past, partly because of the way their systems grew up: Hardware and applications always went hand-in-hand. The big equipment providers liked to keep it that way - any time a phone company wanted to add a new service, they had to go back to their gear makers. The telcos like the status quo, too. When they deploy a homegrown application on their network, they reap all the revenue.