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Bellcore to unveil new network focus

The company will unveil details of its new focus on packet-switched network services tomorrow, as well as a name change to shed the reference to old Ma Bell.

Bellcore will unveil details of the company's new focus on packet-switched network services tomorrow, as well as a company name change to finally pull free from under the shadow of Ma Bell.

Carved out of the AT&T monopoly in 1984, Bellcore has since evolved into a kind of services provider, software development firm, and engineering consultant for the big telephone companies, as well as increasingly for their smaller rivals.

Analysts, however, have said the group's diverse range of products and services have prevented the company from establishing a concrete business focus.

Bellcore executives have tried to remedy this problem in recent months with a drive to focus on "next generation," or packet-switched networks. Late last year, the company joined with Cisco Systems in for a software development deal, and is now a member of standards-setting groups for Internet telephony and ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) packet-switched systems.

The company hopes to solidify its market foothold in supporting these more modern networks. A Webcast announcement tomorrow by chief executive Richard Smith and operating chief Sanjay Ahuja will reiterate Bellcore's focus on packet-switched and Internet technology, and tout a new set of products for the company.

As a part of the announcement, the company will unveil a new suite of calling products and services targeted at packet-switched networks. Pieces of the suite will be drawn from Bellcore's existing portfolio, while other products will be rolled out over the next 6 to 12 months, a company spokesman said.

At the same time, the company will announce a new name, in a move to better create its own market identity.

The company was acquired by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) in late 1997, and no longer maintains close connections to the regional Bell phone companies.