LONDON -- WorldCom, Inc. announced today completion dates for Phase One of its pan-European fiber optic cable system and new products to be enabled by this network. Together these announcements herald the strategic benefits accrued from the liberalization of the European telecommunications market and the creation of the first independent pan-European telecommunications company.
The first loop of its pan-European fiber optic network will be ready for service in the spring of 1998 linking London, Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels. The second loop between Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt will be ready for service in the summer of 1998. WorldCom has already built metropolitan area networks in all these cities. Together these loops form the first phase of WorldCom's construction project, dubbed Ulysses, that, over time, will link all WorldCom's national telecommunications business in Europe.
Also to be ready for service early next year is the southern route of Gemini, the 30Gb transatlantic cable system being built by a WorldCom/Cable & Wireless joint venture. When these systems are connected, WorldCom will be, for the first time in the history of telecommunications, the single company to have built, own and manage the underlying infrastructure and to deliver the resulting telecommunications services in and between the major European markets and the United States.
New ATM Services
WorldCom also announces today the future availability of an international ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) service between the centers served by the pan-European fiber optic network. ATM allows the combination of voice, data and video transmission over a single high-speed network and optimizes the use of bandwidth by sharing it across these applications. WorldCom's International ATM service will provide a flexible and cost effective alternative for customers who would otherwise build a relatively expensive meshed network of international private circuits.
The WorldCom International ATM service over the European fiber network will support constant and variable bit rate transmission speeds up to 45Mbps. This will support both corporate and Internet backbone network applications as well as specialist services such as television broadcast distribution, interactive video, pay per view and high definition video conferencing.
All services delivered over WorldCom's European fiber network will benefit from its multi-loop, SDH (Synchronous Digital Hierarchy) architecture. They will be have built-in resilience. Customers will no longer need to procure resilience as an additional cost of connectivity.
The ATM service will be priced independent of destination on the European fiber network and is scaled to provide a seamless migration path from Frame Relay services. By leveraging inherent optimization of bandwidth, the on-net pricing for Frame Relay and international ATM offers customers further inducement to move away from clear bandwidth solutions for sub-E1 (2Mbps) requirements.
The company will offer its International ATM service to selected US destinations directly connected over WorldCom fiber. This service will be available at a single price for any on-net destination in the US to any on-net destination in Europe.
A new kind of communications company
"WorldCom is the new kind of communications company for Europe," said John Sidgmore, chief operations officer of WorldCom, Inc. speaking at a press conference in London, December 3, 1997. "Not only have we established a new infrastructure based telecommunications company to serve the European market as one, but we have also provided a new, cost-efficient and technically unmatchable opportunity for our customers to meet their next generation of pan-European networking needs - most of which will be based on Internet/Intranet technologies.
"From a geographical perspective, the WorldCom European network is equivalent to the numerous competitive fiber-optic networks that have spanned the USA for some years. I believe that it is no coincidence that these networks exist in the same country that today is recognized as the commercial home of the Internet. The WorldCom European network, therefore, has the potential to launch a whole new chapter in the development of the Internet industry in Europe," said Sidgmore.
Note to editors
In March 1997, WorldCom announced that it was building a pan-European network to link its metropolitan fiber networks installed in Europe's leading business centers. During this year construction has included installation of cross Channel cables between Dover and Calais, and overland builds between Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam and back-haul from Paris and London to the Channel landing points. Construction of the Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam loop is in progress.
WorldCom is a global telecommunications company. Operating in more than 50 countries, the company is a premier provider of facilities-based and fully integrated local, long distance, international and Internet services. WorldCom's subsidiary, UUNET Technologies, Inc., is an international provider of Internet services with over 1,000 Points of Presence (POPs) throughout the United States and in Canada, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. WorldCom's World Wide Web address is http://www.wcom.com.
The common and depositary shares of WorldCom trade on the Nasdaq National Market (U.S.) under the symbol WCOM and WCOMP, respectively.