DataMEG Corp. says its wholly-owned subsidiary, North Electric Company Inc. (NECI) is planning to accelerate development of its Network Assurance products for converged IP networks for market release in the first quarter 2003.

“We have had numerous discussions with test equipment vendors and network operators over the last several months,” Dan Ference, chief operating officer of NECI, said in a statement. “From this we have concluded that many potential customers both in the United States and overseas are planning to begin deployment in Q1 2003 of their next generation replacement for their traditional voice telephone network infrastructure.”

Ference said the traditional voice telephone network infrastructure replacement process consists of the deployment of network elements known as “softswitches” and “gateways” that enable voice and data to be converged and effectively carried over an IP network.

“Our products focus on enabling network operators to quickly and cost effectively introduce the new network infrastructure and new revenue producing services,” Ference added. “The customer will achieve cost savings benefits through limiting network downtime as our Network Assurance software isolates and identifies network ‘trouble spots’ and ensures that the necessary service level agreements are being met on an ongoing basis.”

Late first quarter 2003 market delivery presents a major challenge for Raleigh-based NECI, the company says, but adds that it understands the issues involved and feels it can find ways to deal with the challenge.

“NECI’s discussions have allowed us to determine that equipment purchases by network operators will commence in Q1 2003,” DataMEG President Andrew Benson, said in a statement. “This will allow these operators to deploy equipment prior to the end of the quarter or early Q2. We intend to be a part of this buying and deployment cycle within the converged broadband IP network market.”