According to the BBC, BT is planning to ditch the existing PSTN network and have us all using our phones over a wholly IP-based network by 2009. El Reg has further details of the last mile fibre optic trials that will take place in selected exchanges later this year as part of the initial work to migrate to what BT call their “21st century network”.

This is fantastic news, but it also raises quite a few questions. Will this mean the current programme of LLU will continue? It would be very interesting for third parties to not only deliver end-user services over the BT IP network, but to have greater capability to groom data and voice from BT’s network to their own, either at the customer’s local exchange or at a downstream transit point.

From the point of the end-user, this is a move towards richer and hopefully cheaper—despite BT planning to chuck £3bn at this project—suites of voice and data services. Imagine seamlessly making a call in your home over your ‘landline’ and roaming to a wireless (GSM, UMTS, 802.11) network and continuing the call; checking your answering machine from anywhere in the world by handset or computer; data roaming anywhere in the country with authentication over the network via your ISP, and so on.

The future’s bright, the future’s IP-based!

Hat tip to edward.