Global One's network, at least, is ready for Y2K

While the business future of Global One Communications may be uncertain, the telecommunications alliance yesterday said that all Global One-owned network elements are ready to enter 2000 without any problems.

Among the elements that have passed the year 2000 readiness inspection are the following: Global One's backbone transmission network, its voice network, its ATM network and its legacy IP and data networks. Equipment testing was conducted in France, Germany, the US and Canada, the company said.

Global One is an alliance between Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom and Sprint, which offers voice, data and IP-based services primarily to multinational business customers. It claims 1400 network nodes in 65 countries and reported 1998 revenues of $US1.1 billion. (It did not publish its profit figures.) The venture is said to have been losing more money each year since its creation in 1996, however.

Indeed, Global One's future has been much in question lately, with rumours of the alliance disbanding dating back to the first quarter. In March, Global One's members denied rumors that the alliance was about to break.

Things got worse later in the year, when Deutsche Telekom launched (a failed) bid for Telecom Italia SpA without informing its French partner. France Telecom responded with an arbitration suit, claiming breach of contract.

Last week, Global One's president and chief executive officer Gary Forsee said that on July 16 he will leave the company's top job.

While the telecom companies in the Global One alliance take every opportunity to express their satisfaction with the alliance's performance, Forsee's resignation is the latest in a series of events that has sparked speculation that the alliance is on its last legs.

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