RealTime IT News

Vive le Backbone!

Global communcations firm France Telecom Tuesday said it plans to build a 15,000-mile backbone to connect with 28 major cities in North America.

The backbone buildout comes with a $200 million price tag and is tentatively scheduled for completion by the end of next year. The network will interconnect directly with France Telecom's Pan-European backbone, which was opened this time last year.

France Telecom subsidiary Global One is set to manage the North American bandwidth venture. Global One holds a facilities-based operator's license in the U.S., essential to the French firm's plans to open a dozen sales offices in major U.S. markets by the end of this year.

The move into North America consolidates the France Telecom's position as a major player in the global carrier market.

Although France Telecom also announced that Level 3 Communications, Inc. would provide the dark fiber behind the backbone buildout, a spokesperson for it has not contract with the global carrier at this time.

Level 3's Paul Lonnegren did confirm that the two companies were in the process of discussing an agreement that could provide France Telecom with a variety of Internet solutions.

The backbone architecture will be designed to serve up 1.6 terabits per second speeds and primarily support Internet bound data. But voice, and multi-media traffic for France Telecom's multi-national clients will also be transported over the OC-192 capable pipe.

France Telecom's North American backbone will support all the bells and whistles that current global carriers provide including IP-based Intranet, Virtual Private Network and global frame relay services, as well as wholesale transit options.

The North American backbone network is a key element in France Telecom's global network buildout. The company participates in many large-scale international submarine cable ventures, of which a transatlantic TAT-14 connection will provide the route from North America to Europe.

France Telecom is one of the world's leading telecom currently operating in more than 75 countries worldwide. With the recent acquisition of the UK mobile operator Orange, France Telecom also ranks as the second largest European wireless operator serving than 21 million subscribers. France Telecom already operates a European backbone connecting 250 metropolitan cities in 16 European countries.