360Networks lights up trans-Atlantic fiber cable

Vancouver-based 360networks announced Wednesday it has completed the installation and lighting of all four segments of its undersea cable linking North America with the UK.

360atlantic is an 11,700-kilometer undersea cable linking the US, Canada, Ireland and the UK. The transatlantic network segment was completed on time and under the US$850 million budget by $80 million, said 360networks.

Starting in mid-April, 360networks would be providing customers with service between New York, London and other key North American and European cities, said Greg Maffei, president and CEO of 360networks.

The completion of 360atlantic is a critical step to meeting the company's 2001 financial objectives and providing a global footprint by mid-2002, Maffei said.

360atlantic is the first multi-terabit transatlantic system with a fully protected ring configuration to be ready for service, 360networks said. In addition, 360atlantic is the first transatlantic cable to provide a direct connection between North America and Ireland, and among the first to support 10G bps (bits per second) of data on a single channel and offer total system capacity of 1.92 terabits per second, 360networks claimed.

360atlantic is composed of four segments: a 750-kilometer cable between Boston and Halifax, Nova Scotia, a 5,400-kilometer between Halifax and Dublin, a 5,300-kilometer cable between Halifax and Liverpool and a 250-kilometer cable between Dublin and Liverpool.

In related news, 360networks announced on Tuesday it had reached an initial agreement with Chicago-based Universal Access, a provider of network infrastructure services, to enable both companies to provide more broadband network connections to telecommunications, Internet and application service providers in North America.

The initial phase of the agreement is valued up to US$25 million. Upon completion of the initial phase, both companies said, they have the opportunity to continue to expand their relationship.

Tuesday's agreement will allow Universal Access to purchase capacity on 360networks' global network. The long-haul connectivity provided on this network will enable Universal Access to provide its carrier customers with network services on major routes between its Universal Transport Exchange (UTX) interconnection facilities, 360 said.

As part of the agreement, 360networks will obtain access through Universal Access' UTX interconnection facilities to capacity in metropolitan cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and New York. 360networks' presence in the UTX facilities, coupled with Universal Access' Universal Information Exchange databases, will allow 360networks to generate additional revenue from Universal Access' carrier and ISP customers, the companies said.

Robert Pommer, Universal Access vice-chairman and president of client services, said his company's expertise in rapid provisioning of high-speed circuits would accelerate 360networks' ability to expand into key local markets.

Jimmy Byrd, chief operating officer of 360networks, said the agreement will allow Universal Access to meet the long-haul needs of its customers by providing capacity on 360networks' infrastructure.

360networks Inc. can be reached at http://www.360.net. Universal Access is at http://www.universalaccess.com.

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