The Express Newspapers Group is using a fast, high-bandwidth private Internet Protocol (IP) network to share data and applications with its New York and other offices, and to support the North American launch of OK! magazine in September.
The network between Express Newspapers’ London and New York offices uses two separate sets of cables and routers for business continuity purposes.
It is due to be rolled out across nine additional UK sites by the end of the year, and five more European sites in early 2006.
The network, from MCI, has sufficient bandwidth to transfer large, image-heavy PDF files between offices and across continents. The company is also using the network to run Peoplesoft Financials; as well as an advertising application, and videoconferencing; and to synchronise data between its London data centre and disaster recovery centre in Broughton, Scotland.
The MCI service replaces a Switched Multi-megabit Data Service (SMDS) from BT. BT’s plan to discontinue the SMDS service next March forced Express Newspapers to find an alternative network, said Paul White, IT director at Express Newspapers.
The publisher evaluated services from BT, C&W and MCI, deciding on MCI because it was already providing voice services, and came up with a competitively priced package.
One of the challenges for Express Newspapers was grappling with the technicalities of replacing Appletalk, a networking technology from Apple, which was integrated into the BT SMDS network, and used on 700 Apple Macs across the sites.
Express Newspapers is now planning to give its 200 freelance journalists, mainly based in the US, access to MCI's Global Remote Access system, which will allow them to access their systems securely.
Express Newspapers publishes The Daily Express, Daily Star and OK! magazine. It moved its London headquarters last year from one side of the River Thames to the other, using broadband network links from both BT and MCI to transfer data between the two buildings during the move.
Express Newspapers is in the process of carrying out a Windows 2003 and Exchange Server 2003 migration, and aims to install Microsoft’s Active Directory next year.