December 17, 2003
IP Interface for Voice Traffic Reduces Customers’ Capital Expenses And Fixed Network Costs
BROOMFIELD, Colo., December 15, 2003 – Level 3 Communications, Inc.(Nasdaq:LVLT) announced today that it is significantly expanding the softswitch-based voice termination service it offers to PTTs, inter-exchange carriers and other companies operating in North America and Europe.
The service will benefit wholesale voice customers by enabling them to hand off traffic directly to Level 3 using an IP interface, lowering their fixed network costs and capital expenses.
“With this new capability, carriers will be able to offload voice traffic to the Level 3 network simply by activating an IP port in any of 18 different markets across North America and Europe, said Jack Waters, president of Global Softswitch Services for Level 3. “That will allow our customers to avoid the high cost of interconnection associated with TDM-based switching and network architecture. As importantly, it will enable them to offer voice and other services out of region without the burden of a significant, up-front capital outlay. We have seen real interest in the new service from our existing voice customer base, and believe it offers increasing potential for revenue growth as carriers around the world continue moving to voice-over-IP.
Level 3 first began offering its (3)Voice TerminationSM service in December 1999. Rather than using traditional circuit switches inside its network, Level 3 deployed softswitch technology that converts voice signals into IP packets and back again when the call is handed off to the public switched telephone network. The softswitch, which uses a server-based platform and specialized software, fits Level 3’s native IP architecture and delivers the functionality of a circuit switch with a much lower cost structure. Level 3 can terminate voice traffic in hundreds of cities across North America.
Level 3’s expanded voice capability will allow IP-to-IP interconnection with the Level 3 network at the high levels of security required for voice traffic, and the company’s MPLS network technology will deliver industry-leading quality of service for voice customers. The capability is scheduled to be generally available by the end of the first quarter of 2004.
The service is being expanded through the use of existing IP ports initially installed by Level 3 to support its (3)Flex data networking service, meaning little incremental capital was required to implement the new capability. The IP interface for voice traffic will initially be available in 14 U.S. cities and four European cities on the Level 3 network. The company plans to expand the capability to more than 75 U.S. and European cities by the end of next year.