June 22, 1998 -- Level 3 Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq: LVLT) today announced the formation of a new technical advisory council (TAC) with a charter to develop a set of technical standards to bridge between current circuit-based public switched telephone networks (PSTN) and emerging Internet Protocol (IP) based networks.
The TAC brings together leading communications hardware and softwarecompanies from across the industry. Founding members of the TAC include Cisco Systems, 3Com Corporation, Alcatel Telecom, Ascend Communications, Ericsson,Level 3 Communications, Lucent Technologies, Nortel (Northern Telecom),Selsius Systems, Stratus Computer, Tekelec, and Vertical Networks.
"The significance of the TAC lies in the desire to provide customers withthe best of both the traditional public switched telephone networks and thenewer IP networks," said James Q. Crowe, president and CEO of Level 3. "To dothis, a new set of standards is needed that will allow the seamlessintegration of these two types of networks. Such integration will enablecustomers to benefit from the lower cost of IP network services, includingvoice and fax, without modifying existing telephone and fax equipment ordialing access codes."
Range of Technical Issues AddressedThe TAC's work centers on defining the requirements for controlling a newgeneration of integrated network access servers. When implemented, the new,open, and interoperable protocol standards will enable external control andmanagement of data communications equipment operating at the edge of emergingmulti-service packet networks. The protocol will initially support voice-over-IP, modem dialup, and circuit interface services. Carrier-class productsdeveloped by members of the TAC, and based on the agreed protocol, areexpected to be available by the end of 1998.
Members of the TAC presented their protocol requirements to experts fromITU-T Study Group 16, originators of the H.323 standard upon which Internettelephony is based, who met in Cannes earlier this month. A similarpresentation was made to the ETSI TIPHON project on Internet telephony inHelsinki last week. A draft submission to the Internet Engineering TaskForce (IETF) is in preparation. The TAC plans to submit its final proposal toeach of these standards bodies for adoption.
About Level 3Level 3 is a communications and information services company that isbuilding the first national Internet Protocol (IP) based network. The Level 3Network will combine both local and long distance networks, connectingcustomers end-to-end across the U.S. Plans also call for the company toexpand internationally. In the interim, Level 3 has signed an agreement tolease a national network over which it will be able to offer advanced IP-basedservices beginning in 1998. Level 3 will provide a full range ofcommunications services -- including local, long distance and datatransmission as well as other enhanced services and Internet access services.
The statements made by Level 3 in this press release may be forward-looking in nature. Actual results may differ materially from those projectedin forward-looking statements. Level 3 believes that our primary risk factorsinclude, but are not limited to: changes in the overall economy; technology;the number and size of competitors in our markets; law and regulatory policy;and the mix of products and services offered in our target markets.Additional information concerning these and other potential important factorscan be found within Level 3's SEC filings. You should evaluate any statementsin light of these important factors.
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