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UUNet Australia Talks Tough on Telstra

The corporate arm of Australian ISP OzEmail has been relaunched under the name of UUNet by its owner, MCI Worldcom, with a promise that it wants to change its relationship with its closest rival, the majority public-owned Telstra, to become the largest ISP in Australia.

Peter Van Camp, president of Internet markets for UUNet, said the company would be introducing service level agreements for Internet transit services later in 1999, assuring certain levels of latency, installation times and response times for corporate customers.

"We want to be the bandwidth leader. As we go around the world, we are finding this demand for capacity," he said.

OzEmail's VP of corporate relations, Michael Ward, said the local arm of UUNet would take advantage from the peering relationships MCI Worldcom had built with other carriers in the US, something which Telstra has not been able to do.

"We're looking at being in a very different relationship with Telstra," Ward said. "We want to negotiate a very different arrangement."

David Spence, the new managing director of UUNet Australia/New Zealand, said UUNet will compete directly with Telstra in the high-end corporate connectivity market, particularly in the domestic city-to-city transit links and international leased lines, and also services to wire up buildings in which competitors like Telstra and Davnet have gained solid business.

"This business is about scaling," he said. "UUNet has been through that pain, they know how to scale."

The company will increase its international bandwidth next year when its investment in the Southern Cross Cable Network pays off with a stake in a new undersea cable between South-east Asia, Australia and the US. This and other new cable roll-outs will add to OzEmail's existing resources in cable and its 90Mbps in satellite capacity leased on the PAS-2 bird, operated by PanAmSat.

Spence said UUNet might set up a data centre for high-end site hosting, a field which is currently occupied in Australia by foreign ISPs like Frontier Globalcenter, and to a lesser extent Brisbane ISP Web Central and a facility in Adelaide run by EDS.

"We see site hosting as the same opportunity as networking. A data centre is clearly part of that strategy," said Van Camp.