Let the Circle Be Unbroken

Colorado-based Level 3 Communications,
Friday finished its first fiber ring around Europe.

The 1,900-mile first ring features 10-12 conduits connecting Level 3 data centers in London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Paris and Brussels.

The company anticipates it will complete construction of its second
European network, connecting Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Berlin and
Munich, before the end of the year.

Each of Level 3’s European networks will be connected to the company’s
16,000-mile U.S. network through a 1.28 terabit transatlantic cable
connection. Level 3 contends that its big pipe across the big pond will be
a major force behind the deployment of broadband access throughout the region.

Lee Jobe, Level 3 president of global operations said with the completion
of the first ring in Europe, the firm has completed more than 90 percent of
it inter-city conduit installation plan in North America and Europe.

He added that Level 3 deftly designed its European networks to be
continuously upgradeable. Jobe said the entire fiber network was build with
multiple conduits, which allows Level 3 to quickly leverage fiber optic
technological advances.

“Level 3 designed its multi-conduit network so it can install new
generations of fiber more quickly and at lower incremental cost than
traditional networks can,” Jobe said. “This approach enables us to further
solidify our industry-leading unit cost advantage for bandwidth services.”

As new optical fiber technology is introduced in the market, Level 3 is
capable of installing an upgrade through one of the company’s empty
conduits, rather than having to reconstruct the network from the ground up,
like incumbent carriers tend to do.

Colin Williams, Level 3 executive vice president, said the company has
broken new frontiers in deploying the first large, multi-conduit
independent infrastructure-based network in Europe.

“The Level 3 network will play a major role in enabling the development of
the new Internet economy in Europe,” Williams said.

“We expect to be able to drive down communications costs substantially,”
William added. “By removing the current cost constraints of transporting
information in Europe, Level 3 will drive both demand for communications
services and new applications in the region.”

Level 3’s European fiber optic network plans to market its data, video, and
voice transport capabilities to Internet service providers, application
service providers, and communications companies.

Industry analysts have great expectations for the deployment of broadband
connectivity to Europe. Forrester
Research, Inc.
predicts that 27 Million Europeans will have broadband
Internet access in five years.

Forrester research indicated that only 2 percent of
European households had broadband Internet access in 1999, but as
regulatory barriers drop, analysts predicts that increased competition will
drive broadband growth in the region.

While cable access providers and regional government sanctioned telecom
firms will scramble to get their piece of the market, companies like Level
3 will permit independent ISPs to join battle for broadband consumers in

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