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Acterna’s New DSL Test Solution Provides Innovative, Scalable Solution to one of Europe’s Largest Broadband Providers

GERMANTOWN, Md. and London, September 8, 2003 – Acterna today announced that BT (FTSE: BTA) has purchased Acterna’s centralised DSL Test Solution comprising QT200 Test Head and EMS software in addition to a range of services. The agreement with Acterna for hardware and software supports BT’s aggressive DSL network expansion, which recently surpassed one million wholesale DSL connections and has targeted a total of five million by 2006. The value of the call-off contract is estimated to be around £2.8 million pounds sterling ($4.4 million*) in the 2003-04 financial year with further spend in subsequent years as BT's broadband network grows.

Following an extensive selection process and three month field trial that involved complete collaboration between Acterna, United Technology Europe Limited (UTEL), Alcatel and Fujitsu, BT selected Acterna to provide the test solution for their network fault management system and UTEL for the TAM switching across its UK-wide network. The test functionality will be integrated into the existing BT Operational Support Systems (OSS) and Test OS software to provide automatic fault location. This capability will be extended to the ISP community to enhance the responsiveness and correction of potential broadband faults. The unique working relationship between Acterna and UTEL during the field trials has enabled the development of a seamless solution matched to BT technical requirements, creating a key strategic partnership to deliver broadband test functionality.

"Acterna demonstrated its innovative, pro-active and co-operative partnership approach with us and our other vendors during our extensive field trials and offered us a best-in-breed system that can grow with our future needs," said Bill MacKenzie general manager of BT's broadband platform. "Its deployment will reduce fault identification and handling times and help BT improve service to its wholesale broadband service provider customers, and ultimately to the business or domestic end users of DSL services."

The Acterna DSL Test Solution was selected for a number of technical innovations, its small footprint and ease of use. BT will save considerable operational costs in delivering ADSL and G.SHDSL services by using the numerous features of the Acterna DSL Test Solution to significantly reduce number of trouble tickets by identifying correctly the source of the fault (ISP, End User or BT) – fixing quickly network problems and reducing the number of handoffs to the field. BT will use also the Acterna DSL Test Solution to streamline its provisioning process and accelerate revenue recognition of new services as delivered. This will eliminate time-consuming processes for field technicians by scheduling automated tests and reports.

BT’s purchase of the Acterna DSL Test Solution comes at a critical period of growth in the global DSL marketplace. With more than 100 ADSL providers retailing BT's wholesale ADSL products, and cable companies owning approximately 50 percent market share, the UK is the most competitive broadband market in the world. And, according to a recent study by the Yankee Group, BT was considered the most innovative telecommunications company in the EU thanks largely to its approach to delivering rural broadband.

"BT required a test solution that could serve its extensive geographic reach and support its field engineers by reducing unnecessary site visits," said Acterna's Helmut Berg, president of Acterna’s Telecom Division. "Acterna’s DSL Test Solution is the first of its kind that can help reduce reaction time and operational costs and improve the customer experience - all without impacting the carrier’s ability to continue service to its customers."

Acterna’s DSL Test Solution provides an intelligent and flexible solution that is interoperable with the digital subscriber line access multiplexers (DSLAM’s) currently in use by BT (Alcatel and Fujitsu) and the Test Access Matrix (TAM) from UTEL in the UK. The QT200 Test Head also includes some critical innovations and three patents (one developed with a partner) – all capable of testing a range of services.

Due to the small footprint of the Acterna QT200 Test Head no additional rack space is required – the QT200 can be installed in the DSLAM or TAM racks saving BT additional costs.

About BT
BT Group plc is the listed holding company for an integrated group of businesses providing voice and data services in the UK and elsewhere in Europe. British Telecommunications plc, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group, holds virtually all businesses and assets of the BT group.

BT is one of Europe’s leading providers of telecommunications services. Its principal activities include local, national and international telecommunications services, higher-value broadband and internet products and services, and IT solutions. In the UK, BT serves over 20 million business and residential customers with more than 29 million exchange lines, as well as providing network services to other licensed operators.

BT consists principally of three lines of business:

• BT Retail, serving businesses and residential customers and including BT Openworld, one of the UK’s leading ISPs.

• BT Wholesale, providing network services and solutions within the UK, including ADSL, conveyance, transit, bulk delivery of private circuits, frame relay and ISDN connections.

• BT Global Services, BT’s managed services and solutions provider, serving multi-site organisations worldwide. Its core target market is the top 10,000 global multi-site organisations with European operations.

There are a number of other businesses within the BT group, including BT Exact, an internationally renowned centre of excellence in IT and networking technologies. It is also BT’s technology and research and development business.

In the year ended 31 March 2003, BT’s turnover was £18,727m. with profit before taxation of £1,829m.

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About Acterna
Acterna (ACTRQ.OB) is the world's largest provider of test and management solutions for optical transport, access and cable networks, and the second largest communications test company overall. Focused entirely on providing equipment, software, systems and services, Acterna helps customers develop, install, manufacture and maintain their optical transport, access, cable, data/IP and wireless networks. The company serves customers in more than 80 countries. Acterna is a subsidiary of Acterna Corporation. Information about Acterna can be found on the Web at

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*Note to editors: U.S. dollars conversion based upon Financial Times rate 4 September 2003.

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