OMAHA, NEBRASKA & MORRISTOWN, NJ, November 16, 1998 – Level 3 Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq: LVLT) and Bellcore today announced the merger of their respective technical specifications for a new protocol designed to bridge between current circuit-based public switched telephone networks (PSTN) and emerging Internet Protocol (IP) technology based networks. The merged specification, to be called the Media Gateway Control Protocol (MGCP), represents a combination of the Internet Protocol Device Control (IPDC) specification developed by a consortium formed by Level 3 and made up of leading communications hardware and software companies, and the Simple Gateway Control Protocol (SGCP), developed by Bellcore and Cisco Systems. The MGCP specification is available without a fee to service providers and hardware and software vendors interested in implementing it in their networks and equipment.
The Best of Newer IP Networks & the PSTN The significance of MGCP is that it can provide customers with the best of both the traditional PSTN and the newer IP technology networks. To do this, a new set of standards is needed that will allow the seamless integration of these two types of networks. Such integration will enable customers to benefit from the lower cost of IP network services, including voice and fax, without modifying existing telephone and fax equipment or dialing access codes. Level 3 plans to use MGCP in the development of its own network and envisions many next-generation IP telephony service providers will soon require this functionality in their own networks.
"Our goal is to use standards-based hardware and software to accelerate the integration of the PSTN with IP-based networks such as ours," said Isaac Elliott, senior director of voice network engineering for Level 3 Communications and chair of the Technical Advisory Council (TAC) that developed IPDC. "Merging these two similar specifications provides a focal point for the rapid adoption of a protocol standard by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)."
MGCP Defined MGCP enables external control and management of data communications equipment operating at the edge of emerging multi-service packet networks – known as \'media gateways\' – by software programs, which are known as \'call agents\' or \'media gateway controllers.\' Examples of media gateway devices include voice over IP gateways, voice over ATM gateways, modem banks, cable modems and set-top boxes, soft PBXs, and circuit cross connects.
"The industry was faced with either picking one protocol or implementing both," said Christian Huitema, chief scientist, Internet architecture laboratory at Bellcore. "By merging the two proposals, we resolve the dilemma, provide a safer environment for the manufacture of telephony gateways, and ensure the development of the call agent architecture." A draft of the MGCP specification was recently submitted to the SS7-Internet mailing list of the IETF as well as the European Telecommunications Standards Institute Telecommunications & Internet Protocol Harmonization Over Networks (ETSI TIPHON) working group for review and modification. The MGCP specification draft is available on both the Level 3 Communications Web site at www.Level3.com and the Bellcore Web site at www.Bellcore.com.
About Level 3 Communications, Inc.
Level 3 Communications, Inc., is a communications and information services company that is building the first international network optimized for Internet Protocol technology. The Level 3 Network will combine both local and long distance networks, connecting customers end-to-end across the U.S. and in Europe and Asia. The company expects to complete the U.S. intercity portion of the network during the first quarter of 2001. In the interim, Level 3 has signed an agreement to lease a national network over which it began to offer services in the third quarter of 1998. Level 3 will provide a full range of communications services-including local, long distance, international and Internet services. Level 3\'s common stock is traded on the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol LVLT. Its World Wide Web address is www.Level3.com.
Bellcore, a SAIC company, is a leading provider of communications software, engineering, and consulting services based on world-class research. Bellcore creates business solutions that make information technology work for telecommunications carriers, business, and governments worldwide. More information about Bellcore can be found at www.Bellcore.com or by calling 1-800-521-CORE.
About Level 3 Communications
Level 3 Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: LVLT), an international communications company, operates one of the largest Internet backbones in the world, connecting 180 markets in 18 countries. The company serves a broad range of wholesale, enterprise and content customers with a comprehensive suite of services including: Internet Protocol (IP) services, broadband transport and infrastructure services, colocation services, voice and voice over IP services, content delivery and media distribution services. These services provide the building blocks to enable Level 3’s customers to meet their growing demands for advanced communications solutions. The company’s Web address is www.Level3.com.
"Level 3 Communications,” "Level 3," the red 3D brackets and the Level 3 Communications logo are registered service marks of Level 3 Communications, LLC in the United States and/or other countries. Level 3 services are provided by wholly owned subsidiaries of Level 3 Communications, Inc. Any other service, product or company names recited herein may be trademarks or service marks of their respective owners.
Some of the statements that we make in this press release are forward looking in nature. These statements are based on management’s current expectations or beliefs. These forward looking statements are not a guarantee of performance and are subject to a number of uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside our control, which could cause actual events to differ materially from those expressed or implied by the statements. The most important factors that could prevent us from achieving our stated goals include, but are not limited to our ability to: successfully integrate acquisitions; increase the volume of traffic on our network; defend our intellectual property and proprietary rights; develop new products and services that meet customer demands and generate acceptable margins; successfully complete commercial testing of new technology and information systems to support new products and services; attract and retain qualified management and other personnel; and meet all of the terms and conditions of our debt obligations. Additional information concerning these and other important factors can be found within Level 3’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Statements in this press release should be evaluated in light of these important factors. Level 3 is under no obligation to, and expressly disclaims any such obligation to, update or alter its forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.