British Telecommunications and AT&T announced the financial closure of Concert, the final step in tying the knot on the deal for the global communications joint venture between the two companies.
Concert, which was first announced in July of 1998, was given the final regulatory clearance by the US Federal Communications Commission in October. The company, which had already been given the green light by the European Commission and the US Department of Justice, is equally owned by BT and AT&T.
Concert was designed to serve multinational customers, as well as Internet service providers (ISPs) and telecommunication carriers with its international network. Concert's frame relay network reaches every major city in the US and UK, as well as 170 cities in an additional 47 countries.
Concert has also built an IP network spanning 21 cities in 17 countries. The company is currently planning to integrate its network with an additional network that AT&T purchased from IBM last year, which would let the network reach more than 60 cities.
The IP network is also connected to AT&T and BT's domestic networks, which will reach 450 points of presence by March, according to the statement issued by the two companies.
Concert, with about 6000 employees worldwide, combines the international aspects of the two parent companies.
Concert is made up of three businesses. Global Markets resells Concert services including frame relay, global software defined networks and value-added IP services. Global Accounts serves multinational customers from the financial, petroleum and information-technology sectors. International Carrier Services sells network services to fixed and wireless carriers, as well as ISPs worldwide.