KPNQwest Lights German Fiber Ring

BERLIN (06/28/2000) - KPNQwest BV announced Wednesday that it has lighted its 2,700 kilometer fiber optic ring, connecting 16 cities in Germany.

The company, which provides IP (Internet Protocol)-based communications services, has begun migrating its customers to the new network and away from the leased lines it is currently using. The migration process will take about two months, said spokesman Piers Schreiber.

The company is in the process of building seven such rings, comprising 20,000 kilometers of cable around Europe, said Schreiber. "We believe there will be an explosive demand for high-quality bandwidth, and that's what we provide," he added.

KPNQwest's investment in the German ring amounts to some US$215 million, the company said.

The company said the advantage of a ring is that data can be instantaneously re-routed in the opposite direction in the event of a cut, avoiding service disruptions. Internet users have, until now, put up with frequent interruptions, said Schreiber, but as the Net becomes more of an essential service, they will demand reliability. "Think how tolerant you would be of an electricity failure in a hospital," he said.

KPNQwest plans to integrate the new fiber optic network with its planned series of 18 CyberCenters, which Schreiber described as "data hotels." In the 10,000-square-meter facilities, the company will house clients' Internet applications servers, giving them direct access to the high-bandwidth fiber optic network. KPNQwest's partner in the CyberCenters venture, IBM Corp., will reserve 25 percent of the space for its own clients. The first of the CyberCenters, in Munich, is due to go online next month, Schreiber said.

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

KPNQwest, in Hoofddorp, Netherlands, can be reached at +31-23-56-87-676 or on the Web at http://www.kpnqwest.com/.

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