"The consolidation of the VPN network allowed us to have effectively one router per site while still having seamless connectivity to the end user. And in terms of pricing, what I like about BT is that there is a single price for your connection and it doesn't matter where your customer is geographically, it's still a single price," Jaffe said.
BT sees IP VPNs as a way to help customers to run their business more efficiently and effectively, Brady said. "Our MPLS network allows a number of VPNs to share the same network with tight security, as security is designed into the basic fabric of the network with MPLS. It allows for sharing the network and also brings good quality of service as well as cost effectiveness," Brady said.
Additionally, BT Ignite uses IPsec technology to create a defined and secure tunnel through the Internet and offer the benefits of pan-European connectivity, Brady said.
"We see MPLS and IPsec as a very powerful combination, and we expect MPLS with CoS to be very effective. Most of our customers, once they've gotten IP, ask us 'When can you give us class of service?' Well, we'll start taking orders at the end of April," Brady said.
CoS will actually become available in the U.K. around the end of May, and BT plans to roll out CoS throughout Europe in the 12 months after that, Brady said.
Though BT Ignite would not reveal its pricing plan for CoS, there will be an additional costs for the service. "We've bounced our pricing plan off of a number of clients and it's judged to be reasonable," said Steven Carter, manager of BT Ignite's EquIP and metro product division.
"CoS is an alternative to just buying a bigger access pipe because it manages traffic better. CoS automatically classes the priority of the packet -- be it voice, data or video -- and assigns it a level of importance from one to three. The network reads the packet headers to determine which class it is, making the network more application aware. CoS gives a much more user-orientated approach to IP networks," Brady said.
BT will also couple CoS with directory services and other applications that can then be tailored to different departments in a company as well as different users. "It has a number of benefits, such as when a new employee comes to the company, or leaves for that matter, a business can add or delete that employee's connection through one directory structure," Brady said.
Currently, BT Ignite's VPN business is still smaller than its frame relay business, though Carter wouldn't say just how much revenue VPNs are generating for BT. "It's in the millions of pounds, I can say that, and we do expect it will grow exponentially," Carter said.
Carter expects that about 20 percent of BT Ignite's current customers will opt to pay extra for CoS though "after talking to users, our sales guys tell me that it's going to be 80 percent," he said.