UK incumbent BT Group says it has concluded negotiations and signed contracts with four of the preferred suppliers for its ‘21st Century Network’ (21CN) next generation network (NGN) programme. Contracts have been signed with Ciena, Huawei, Lucent and Siemens, and BT expects to conclude negotiations with the remaining four suppliers early in the New Year. Financial details of the contracts were not disclosed. In April 2005 BT selected eight equipment vendors as preferred suppliers for the GBP10 billion (USD19 billion) 21CN project, which will eventually transform its UK PSTN into a complete IP network. Alcatel, Cisco and Siemens will supply metro nodes for routing and signalling the new system; whilst Cisco and Lucent are preferred suppliers for core nodes; Fujitsu and Huawei will provide access between existing infrastructure and the new network; Ciena and Huawei will supply optical electronics; and Ericsson will provide i-node intelligence services to oversee operation of the new network. BT intends to begin mass migration of users to the IP network in 2006.