C&W buys 8 European ISPs, expands IP network

Telecommunications company Cable and Wireless (C&W) has purchased eight independent European ISPs and plans to invest a further $US500 million in its European IP network.

The purchase of ISPs in Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, Spain and Switzerland brings C&W's total investment in European business ISPs to $500 million, C&W's Chief Executive Graham Wallace said.

The ISPs serve only companies or other ISPs, rather than individual consumers. They include Xpoint in Austria, On-line Internet in Belgium, ISDnet in France, Unidata and DSLogic-DSNet in Italy, Grupo Intercom in Spain, and agri.ch and Petrel Communications in Switzerland.

Taken together, the new ISPs already have annual revenue of $130 million, which the London-based C&W expects to grow by 50 per cent in the next year. "The market as a whole is growing by 50 per cent a year and we expect to keep pace with the rest of the market," Wallace said.

C&W's IP network will serve 18 cities in Europe by April of this year, with 200 cities being connected by 2002, after the company integrates the acquired ISPs' PoPs (points of presence) and networks with its own, Wallace said.

Overall, C&W has invested some $2 billion in its global IP and data network, Wallace said.

The new ISP investments are part of an overall group strategy that focuses on serving European business, Wallace said. "There will be more (ISP acquisitions) to come, but this is the bulk of them and represents the core of our IP expansion in Europe," Wallace said.

The additional $500 million network investment, meanwhile, further expands C&W's existing program to build the most extensive data and IP network in Europe as part of its global IP strategy, the company said. The investment aims to extend the coverage of the core 9.6G bit IP network being built across Europe.

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