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Frontier, Lucent team on IP telephony network

Frontier is teaming up with Lucent to design and build an IP telephony network that it hopes will carry all of Frontier's voice traffic by the year 2002.

Frontier Communications, a fiber optic telecommunications carrier, said today that it is teaming up with Lucent Technologies, the world's largest telecommunications equipment maker, to design and build an IP telephony network that it hopes will carry all of Frontier's voice traffic by the year 2002.

Frontier hopes to develop new software services and products that can be used over the network.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

At the core of Frontier's IP telephony solution is Lucent's softswitch, a Bell Labs-developed software switch for IP networks and Sonus Networks' GSX 9000 Open Services Switch.

Lucent's softswitch software runs on standard computer work stations and provides the reliability and features of traditional phone switches at a fraction of the cost, the companies said. The combination of the Lucent softswitch and the Sonus GSX9000 provides the scalability and performance required to make IP telephony viable for large-scale network deployment in Frontier's network, the companies said

"By collaborating with IP innovators such as Lucent and Sonus, Frontier is the first to make 'carrier class' IP telephony a reality," Frontier president Rolla Huff said in a statement.

Beginning with email in the third quarter, Frontier hopes to offer outsourced IP applications which it plans to evolve into unified messaging by early 2000.

Lucent will also supply Frontier with trunking gateway technology from privately held Sonus Networks.

Lucent will also provide trunking and universal access gateway products to Frontier for enabling interoperability between its existing circuit network and its emerging IP telephony network.

Frontier plans to offer IP telephony next month in three U.S. cities, expanding the number to 15 to 20 cities by the first half of 2000.

Separately, Lucent reported that its earnings rose 60 percent in the fiscal third-quarter earnings, beating expectations on strong demand for equipment to upgrade networks.