TalkTalk is well known for the voice and data connectivity services it offers to UK consumers, but it has been quietly building a flexible, high capacity IP network which also accommodates increasing numbers of business customers.
Revenue for TalkTalk Business accounted for over 30% of the £1.8bn total in the financial year ending March 2016, up 5% on the previous year and driven largely by growth in demand for data products, next generation voice services and broadband connections delivered by both its direct channel and wholesale partners.
The company is so confident of further business growth it has agreed a deal with global telco NTT Com to use its IP transit network to handle the extra SIP voice traffic TalkTalk Business is expected to generate over the next few years.
Getting access to high speed, cost effective wide area network (WAN) bandwidth via fibre or DSL is only one part of the challenge for small businesses, medium sized enterprises and large corporates alike. The next step is to optimise that bandwidth to underpin a broader range of mission critical applications and services – unified communications, cloud hosting, security, business intelligence and big data analytics to name but a few.
TalkTalk Business is currently upgrading its network to support those projects and improve the quality of experience (QoE) for its customers and partners. It is working with systems integration partners and network vendors like Axians and Juniper Networks to introduce network function virtualisation (NFV) technology into its network architecture, for example.
The intention is to eventually replace dedicated router, firewall and virtual private network (VPN) hardware with virtualised software functions which can be provisioned and configured on demand by the customer or third party systems integrator itself through self-service portals.
CIOs and IT directors rarely have the time to focus on future proofing their own networks, and it is never easy to predict the demands which emerging applications and services will put on them. But by harnessing new approaches like NFV now, TalkTalk Business can lay a solid foundation for tomorrow’s business requirements whatever they may be.