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  Annual review and summary financial statement 2003
Network strategy

Our network is a fantastic asset. But itís an asset that we have to continue to develop to ensure that it continues to meet our customersí changing needs. And given that the job of transforming our network is at least equal to our network modernisation programmes of the 1980s and 1990s, we need to combine a clear, customer-driven view of the future with financial discipline now.

Our existing network has more than 29 million connections that we have to take forward into the new-wave future. But, from now on, we are going to be refocusing our investment away from todayís circuit-switched technology, in order to be able to spend more on IP (internet protocol) and packet-based technologies.

We believe that our customers want a network that will enable them to shop online, surf the internet, send messages, play games, watch videos, listen to music, access information and - as ever - talk to each other. And they want to be able to do these things wherever they happen to be.

Businesses also want a new generation of low-cost and flexible services. They want to be able to deal in large volumes of information quickly and accurately.

What all customers want is a complete communications service thatís easy to access and simple to use.

The new network will be reliable and hands-off, with self-diagnostic and self-healing capabilities, which is why the investment we are making now should lead to significantly lower operational costs in the future.

Delivering a clear network stratrgy
We have the largest capacity telecommunications network in the UK, capable of reaching nearly every home and business. But the traffic we carry on that network is changing. In response to the rising demand for advanced data, mobile, broadband and internet services, we are transforming our network for the 21st century, to make it capable not just of meeting our customersí needs now, but their future needs as well.
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