The U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) has confirmed selection of a team led by Nortel Government Solutions to deploy one of the world's largest enterprise VoIP networks under the 10-year, $300 million Telephone Systems Replacement Project (TSRP). Deployment was delayed pending resolution of a competing bidder protest.

TSRP is expected to expand and improve services for an anticipated influx of new users, including retiring "baby boomers." It will include a centrally managed contact center solution with carrier-class unified messaging and interactive voice response (IVR) capable of supporting 55,000 field office agents. This will provide a common, more friendly look and feel for users and faster, more efficient call handling through skills-based routing that matches each caller's inquiry to the most appropriate agent.

The SSA also expects its new VoIP network to help consolidate monthly public network service charges, decrease operating and maintenance costs, and establish a platform for future services.

Core network rollout begins immediately and is expected to be complete within 180 days. The schedule calls for replacement of existing telephone systems in 205 of the SSA's nearly 1,600 field offices in the first year and another 500 per year after that. The contract also includes network integration operation, maintenance, user support and training.

The new SSA VoIP network will feature Nortel's Communication Server 1000 switching, Media Processing Server 500 IVR, unified messaging solution with Unified Messaging 2000 core platform and CallPilot, and IP Phone 1100 Series handsets. The Solutions team includes General Dynamics, Black Box Network Services, Shared Technologies, York Telecom, High Wire Networks, NetIQ, NETCOM Technologies and Pal-Tech.