BT has announced the first deployment of hardware for its much-touted new network, known as 21CN.
Cardiff is the lucky city, and will see 10 per cent of its subscribers moved onto the Internet Protocol-based technology by March next year, with the rest of Cardiff migrated by the end of summer 2007.
Once Cardiff has tested the waters, the rest of the country can look forward to entering the 21st century from January 2008.
In a statement, BT said: "BT believes 21CN will have as significant an impact on the way people communicate as the arrival of motorways had on road travel in the late 20th century.".
The advantages of switching an entire telecommunications network onto Internet Protocol have long been argued, but have lacked a large-scale deployment to demonstrate feasibility and iron out any problems.
BT may well be providing just such an example, and the success or failure of the 21st Century Network will be closely monitored around the world.
BT has also announced it will be undertaking a nationwide campaign to inform customers what the switch will mean to them and when it will take place in their area. Most subscribers should see little change initially, with their phone number and equipment remaining the same, but the potential for additional services and lower costs should become obvious over time.
BT has set up a site where concerned customers can download a list of the equipment that will be tested for compatibility with the new network, and an email address is provided through which additional tests can be requested. ®