Global One Hooks Up to the US Market

BOSTON(06/13/2000) - International carrier Global One Communications Inc. and domestic U.S. carrier Intermedia Communications Inc. Tuesday hooked up in a marketing and network-interconnection alliance.

The move is designed to give corporate users a way to pull together domestic and international wide-area connections, though the two carriers will have some work to do to synchronize their infrastructures.

In a now-familiar pattern in telecom mergers and alliances, the two partners don't share the same key switch vendors. Global One's ATM network is based on Nortel Networks Corp.'s and Newbridge Networks Inc.'s equipment, while Intermedia primarily uses Lucent Technologies Inc.'s ATM switches. Both carriers support frame relay and ATM user connections off these networks.

Global One vice president Detlef Spang said the two ATM-based networks will be linked via a Network-to-Network Interface (NNI). He conceded that the resulting end-to-end connection "will not support the whole feature set" of either individual network. But he added that the two carriers have worked to ensure that service-level agreements can be met across the entire link.

Intermedia President David Ruberg noted that his company has experience with NNIs, especially via deals it has worked with several Bell companies that need a long-haul carrier to carry their customers' WAN links across local boundaries.

Predictably, the two carriers share the same vendor - Cisco Systems Inc.- for their parallel IP networks.

Overall, the pairing appeared to be driven by strategic needs for the two companies.

Global One is now a wholly owned unit of France Telecom SA, after its two other original stockholders - Sprint Corp. and Deutsche Telekom AG - recently sold out. The loss of the Sprint connection leaves Global One without a significant sales force in the U.S. At the same time, Intermedia has rapidly expanded, including the acquisition of companies specializing in direct access to multitenant office buildings. Global One also announced it will expand its dedicated sales force to 12 U.S. cities this year.

"This combination will greatly enhance Global One's service in the U.S. and provide a strong foundation for the expansion of its business in the all-important North American market," Yankee Group Inc. President Berge Ayvazian said in a prepared statement.

For its part, Intermedia gains new visibility within the Fortune 500 companies - many of them original Sprint domestic customers - that Global One has served since 1996.

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