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Along with boosting the performance of the Smile banking service ( www.smile.co.uk) Co-op aims to use the network to carry internal traffic for 6,000 employees.
Keith Girling, the Co-op's director of technology, said the bank's five main clearing, computer and call centre sites in north-west England will be linked by two 100Mbps fibre connections, which will in turn be linked to the company's main clearing centre in London via Fibernet's national fibre network. Eventually, Fibernet will deliver up to 100Mbps (Fast Ethernet) to users, via the bank's existing copper wire infrastructure.
The network replaces an existing WAN infrastructure. Smile had begun to experience some traffic problems and bottlenecks in its current WAN, which was installed 14 years ago. The deal with Fibernet will provide the Co-op bank with not only greater bandwidth, but also local network scalability for future growth and new network applications such as video streaming and voice over IP.
Fibernet chief executive, Charles McGregor, said: "With this new network we can offer the Co-op any amount of bandwidth it needs, the more it uses, the cheaper it becomes."