Telecom is just days away from announcing its partner in the next development of its network - the all IP network.
Telecom's chief technical officer, Murray Milner says that every 20 years or so a new technology comes along that changes Telecom's business.
"In the 1980s we moved from analogue to digital which has set us up to make the jump from circuit switching to a complete packet-based environment," says
Milner says the next 10 to 15 years will completely redefine the way Telecom conducts its business, with the movement of existing services to the new environment and the introduction of new offerings.
"We do not know what those services will be yet. Nobody does." This shift will involve upgrading or replacing most of Telecom's network, although the fibre and copper currently in the ground will remain.
"We need to change out the electronics that run the network."
Part of the move will involve a re-jig of the way Telecom views its services and products away from the technology that provides them.
"Currently to offer a small business five or six services we need five or six platforms. With an all IP network we need just one platform and one point of contact with that company."
An all IP network will run in a similar fashion to a giant virtual private network (VPN) that uses all the advantages of internet protocol without the disadvantages, says Milner.
"The advantages are security and performance issues. We don't have to wonder what sort of network we're connecting to and whether it can deliver the quality of service we're after." It also means new services can be rolled out that much more quickly.
One service that Telecom has already rolled out but not marketed in a big way is its IP Networking package.
Aimed at the high end of the DSL market, IP Networking offers VPN functionality over a DSL link. A number of companies are experiencing problems with drop outs and micro-outages when using JetStream and Milner says this is because the product is really only intended to provide high speed internet access.
"To go beyond that to a higher level of quality of service you need a different offering."
He expects the IP Networking suite of offerings to eventually supplant a lot of Telecom's existing products, like Frame Relay, ATM and the like that are really designed for larger corporates and don't scale down very well.