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Johanne Torres[December 14, 2004]

First Town in Verizon Nationwide VoIP Conversion


The city of Mount Vernon, Wash., will soon be known as the first central office in the telecom’s network to be completely switched over from a legacy telephone system to a fully-integrated Internet telephony-enabled system. This deployment is the first on Verizon’s (quote - news - alert) national VoIP ( define - news - alert) switchover master plan, valued at more than a billion dollars.

The company plans to carry out this nationwide deployment plan in a period of five to six years. Addressing the need for support of legacy TDM interconnections, Verizon will be integrating Nortel’s (quote - news - alert) softswitch, which takes up about as much space as the 7-foot-high, 19-inch-wide Class 5 circuit switch it replaced within the Skagit Valley facility in Mount Vernon.

Verizon says that the deployment has a potential of reducing the Skagit Valley facility’s telecommunication operational costs by as much as 50 percent. The telecom is planning to replace about 2,500 Class 5 switches with IP softswitches and other line media and trunking gateways. Verizon will be integrating Nortel’s Communications Server 2000 softswitch, Packet Voice Gateway (PVG) and Media Gateway 9000 products. Verizon will also integrate servers and session border controllers from other vendors.

Verizon’s national IP backbone supports multiple access methods -- frame relay, ATM, Ethernet or private line. It also supports IP VPN services which could be used by larger clients to carry VoIP traffic. With this deployment, the carrier joins others also replacing legacy switches over to IP softswitches such as BellSouth, Qwest, AT&T, Sprint and MCI.

Today’s announcement follows Verizon and Avaya’s recent partnership to collaborate in an offering targeted at small and medium-sized businesses. The companies agreed to provide a suite of communications solutions that include systems, applications and services for smaller clients. Under the agreement, Verizon will offer two suites of Avaya products to the small and medium business market -- both single and multi-site -- in retail and wholesale trade, transportation and other industries. The product lines Verizon will offer include Avaya’s IP Office and the PARTNER Advanced Communications System.

Johanne Torres is contributing editor for and Internet Telephony magazine. Previously, she was assistant editor for EContent magazine in Connecticut. She can be reached by e-mail at


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