Nortel originally declared bankruptcy in 2009, which left tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of on-premise communications systems in the field without a clear pathway for upgrades, support, or any means to adapt to the future.
On Jan 24, 2017, Judges in Delaware and Canada approved a plan to pay more than $7 billion to creditors of Nortel Networks. The ruling has marked years of litigation over the demise of what was once one of the largest manufacturers of telecommunications equipment in the world. While this ruling will finally allow repayment of vendors, retirees in Canada, government agencies, and investment funds, it does not do much for the owners of aging Nortel equipment in the field.
Anyone still running a Norstar, Meridian, or Meridian Mail may soon be hard-pressed to find replacement parts and qualified service technicians to keep these systems operational. However, it is difficult to justify the time and expense to do a forklift upgrade of systems that are still functioning, despite the fact that they are obsolete with limited upgrade and service options available. Many Nortel customers have found a solution to this problem by using a hosted or cloud-based provider as part of a migration plan to move away from their aging premise-based Norstar or Meridian phone system.
By off-loading certain functions to the hosted provider, the life of the Nortel system can be extended without the cost of a forklift upgrade or having to retrain an entire staff in the use of a new phone system. Functions such as conference calling, automated attendant, voice mail, satellite office connectivity, among others, can be distributed between the existing Nortel system and the hosted provider, or even moved outright to the hosted system. This process can also be enhanced by using SIP Trunks to connect the existing system to the PSTN, rather than using POTS, ISDN or PRI circuits.
This type of incremental migration can help a Norstar or Meridian user to migrate to a more cost-effective hosted solution, without the major cost and inconvenience of a fork-lift upgrade of their current on-premise system.