7 – 21CN
This is the year when we’ll find out whether BT’s 21st Century Network (21CN) really lives up to its name.
By the end of 2008, BT claims that half of the UK will be plugged into 21CN, potentially benefiting from speeds of up to 24Mb/sec on home broadband connections (which still isn’t remarkably impressive when you consider that Virgin Media is already offering 50Mb/sec in limited trials).
BT says the IP-based network will provide the impetus for high-speed services such as video-on-demand, VoIP and video communication. It will also offer bandwidth -on-demand – allowing consumers and SMEs to temporarily increase their connection speed when they need to. Nevertheless, 21CN will still reach your home through the rickety copper cabling that afflicts the current network, and it remains to be seen whether BT’s decision to overhaul the core network rather than biting the bullet and trying to find a way to pay for fibre-to-the-home was a wise move.
BT claims that the reduced complexity of 21CN, compared with its current PSTN network, will achieve cost savings of £1 billion per year. Whether those cost savings will eventually be passed on to customers is unclear, and we can only hope that Ofcom is keeping its lazy eye on the situation.
Next: 8 – Windows Home Server