KPNQwest Beefs Up Multimedia Distribution on Net

PARIS (07/13/2000) - European broadband carrier KPNQwest NV announced two deals Thursday to boost the efficiency of its European optical network in transporting multimedia content.

The company is buying software from Inktomi Corp. to speed the delivery of Web and streaming multimedia content hosted in 18 "new mega-CyberCenters" it is building across Europe. And it will resell the multimedia distribution services of Akamai Technologies Inc. under a nonexclusive deal.

Both Inktomi and Akamai speed the flow of data by hosting multimedia content closer to the point of consumption, caching it near the edge of the network, but "one is being integrated into our network; the other (Akamai) is an extension of our network," said KPNQwest spokesman Piers Schreiber, distinguishing between the two.

The company's customers range from Internet service providers (ISPs) to SOHO (small office, home office) users connecting to its network over ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line). The company will offer the caching services to its ISP clients but expects all of its users to benefit from improved network performance.

Inktomi will install its caching and content management software, including Traffic Server, Content Delivery Suite and Media-IXT in all of KPNQwest's planned eighteen hosting centers, according to company spokeswoman Stephanie Forrest. She declined to put a value on the contract, but said the deal made KPNQwest Inktomi's largest network customer in Europe, ahead of Colt Telecom Group PLC, with which Inktomi announced a similar deal in June.

Each of KPNQwest's new hosting centers occupies an area as large as two soccer fields, Schreiber said: "Imagine hosting on steroids."

Six of the centers are expected to go live this year: in Munich this month, in London and Paris by early October, and in Stockholm, Milan and Frankfurt by the end of the year. [See "IBM, KPNQwest Strike $4B Web Hosting Deal," April 4.]Inktomi's technology will not just be used in the hosting centers, but throughout the network, "wherever customer demand is," Schreiber said.

KPNQwest will not attempt to integrate its own Inktomi-powered services with the Akamai-hosted services it is reselling, according to Schreiber. "I don't think Akamai and Inktomi would take kindly to being considered companies that could be integrated in any way," he added.

KPNQwest is a joint venture between US-based Qwest Communications International Inc. and Dutch telecommunications company KPN Telecom BV.

KPNQwest, in Hoofddorp, the Netherlands, can be contacted at +31-23-56-87-676 or at http://www.kpnqwest.com/. Akamai Technologies, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, can be reached on the Web at http://www.akamai.com/. Inktomi, in Foster City, California, can be contacted at +1-650-653-2800 or at http://www.inktomi.com/.

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