Large UK users delay action

Despite analysts' warnings, UK users are holding back from taking action in the wake of the news of WorldCom's financial...

Despite analysts' warnings, UK users are holding back from taking action in the wake of the news of WorldCom's financial troubles.

David Lester, the London Stock Exchange's chief information officer, said, "The exchange has a full range of contingency plans in place should WorldCom's position deteriorate further. These include transferring WorldCom's responsibilities to an alternative service provider or - because the exchange owns the essential assets required to run the network - using our own management expertise to run the network ourselves.

"We will continue to actively refine our contingency plans to ensure ongoing and high-quality service provision to our customers regardless of the circumstances with WorldCom."

Another WorldCom customer was keeping a watching brief after it jumped from the sinking KPNQwest ship to WorldCom recently. The UK Education and Research Networking Association (Ukerna), which runs the Janet network for the UK's higher education institutions and administers the .ac, .uk and .gov.uk top-level domains, quit its contract with KPNQwest at the end of May when the company's network was under threat. It switched provision of its UK backbone to WorldCom in just 4.5 hours.

Tim Kidd, production services director at Ukerna, said, "The service is running fine at the moment but we are keeping a close eye on what happens. We have contingency plans in place and are having a number of discussions regarding our options."

A spokesman for another WorldCom customer, oil giant BP, said, "We are monitoring the situation closely and have plans to make sure our systems work as we need them to."

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